Vegetable Ragout with Pesto (Ragoût de Légumes au Pistou)

Vegetable Ragout with Pesto (Ragoût de Légumes au Pistau)
Vegetable Ragout with Pesto (Ragoût de Légumes au Pistau)
Pairing pistou, an herb sauce made with fresh basil, with tender spring vegetables makes for a bright-tasting seasonal entree.Todd Coleman

Pairing pistou, an herb sauce made with fresh basil, with tender spring vegetables makes for a bright-tasting seasonal entree; the recipe comes from Patricia Wells at Home in Provence (Scribner, 1996).

Vegetable Ragout with Pesto (Ragoût de Légumes au Pistou)
Pairing pistou, an herb sauce made with fresh basil, with tender spring vegetables makes for a bright-tasting seasonal entrée.
Yield: serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 4 globe artichokes
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 12 cup plus 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, plus 8 cloves, peeled and left whole
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bouquet garni (3 sprigs each summer savory, thyme, and parsley, tied together with kitchen twine)
  • 34 cup white wine
  • 2 plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh peas in their pods, shelled and blanched, or 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 lb. fava beans in their pods, shelled and blanched, skins removed
  • 20 asparagus tips, blanched

Instructions

  1. Combine lemon juice and 6 cups water in a large bowl. Working with one artichoke at a time, place artichoke on its side. Using a serrated knife, cut off leaves by making a crosswise cut about 1 12" from where the stem meets the base; discard leaves. Cut away tough outer leaves remaining on artichoke's base until you reach inner yellow leaves. Using a peeler, remove green outer layer from stem and base. Trim off bottom 12" of stem. Use a spoon to scoop out fuzzy choke from center of artichoke. Quarter trimmed artichoke; transfer to lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichokes.
  2. To make the pistou, combine the basil, 12 cup olive oil, minced garlic, and salt and pepper in the bowl of a small food processor and process until smooth; set aside.
  3. Drain artichokes. Heat remaining oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat; add the garlic cloves, onions, bouquet garni, and salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the artichokes, wine, tomatoes, and 12 cup water; cook, covered, until artichokes are tender, about 25 minutes. Add the peas, fava beans, and asparagus and cook until tender, about 3 minutes; remove and discard the bouquet garni. To serve, divide mixture between four bowls, top each with a generous spoonful of pistou, and serve with crusty bread.