8 medium artichokes
2 teaspoons salt
1 medium onion, cut in ?-inch dice
1 medium fennel, cut in ?-inch dice
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 dried chili pepper
1 bay leaf
Small tied bundle of basil, thyme and parsley, washed
4 ounces dry white wine
3 large ripe tomatoes, cut in ?-inch dice
20 pitted and rinsed kalamata or nicoise olives
1 tablespoon chopped anchovy fillet (optional)
6 basil leaves, cut in thin strips
4 basil tops for decoration
Trim artichokes by tearing off outer leaves and cutting away dark areas. Cut in ? and rinse. Bring artichokes to boil in 1 quart water, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 lemon split. Simmer about 20 minutes until slightly firm. Drain 'chokes and let cool. Reserve some liquid. Sweat onions, fennel and garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil, bay leaf, chili pepper and herb bundle for a few minutes. Add wine, reduce to half. Add tomatoes, olives and anchovy. Simmer a few minutes, add artichokes. Cook 35 to 40 minutes until tender, then add basil leaves and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add some cooking liquid from artichokes to thin stew if necessary. Season to taste. Serve stew chilled or warm over cooked white beans, young arugula leaves (trimmed and washed), top with shavings of Parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and basil flower tops;
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