Monday, February 23, 2009
Braised Artichoke & Tarragon-Butter-Cream Ricotta Gnocchi
We spied these Globe Artichokes at the Italian Market...2 for $3. One cookbook we have based on Roman cuisine had a recipie for braised artichoke that we wanted to try out.
After cleaning and breaking down the artichoke to the stem and heart, you place it in a saucepan for a snug fit, add olive-oil and sear the chokes. Once the chokes take on a slight sear, you add the braising liquid.
I used aboout 1/4 cup dry white wine, 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine (Chinese Sake cooking wine) and then enough water to cover the artichokes.
Simmer the braising liquid, covered, for about 30 minutes or until a knife goes through the cap completly. Then remove the cover and reduce the liquid. Take the artichokes out carefully, now that they're delicately cooked.
The finished results are an intense, almost nutty flavor...immediately Elizabeth smelled buttered pecans when I pulled the chokes from the braising liquid. Cooked tender, these were the perfect alternative to a starchy potato and accompanied our grass-fed strip-steak we bought at D'Angelo's.
Although the artichokes were a flavorful surprise, the star of the meal were Elizabeth's pillowy soft ricotta gnocchi.
We served these gnocchi in a sauce that was inspired by the escargot dish that we enjoyed at Zinc last weekend. We sauteed high-quality butter, shallots, garlic & tarragon in a pan for about 15 minutes, then finished it with another tablespoon of butter, 1/4 cup of cream and a teaspoon of Pernod...the anise-fennel liquor rounded out the unctious buttery sauce, already made sweet by those sauteed shallots.