Touring his garden, Luciano Zamboni bent down to gather up the stalks of a bushy cardoon. We had examined a hedge of silvery artichoke plants, very similar in appearance to the cardoon but with spiky purple buds. And we'd already surveyed the herb gardens that hug the house and the boxed-in beds of red and white chard, puntarella chicory, two kinds of arugula, three kinds of radicchio, squashes with orange blossoms, fava beans, peas and potatoes.
We were discussing the celery-like cardoon. "This plant is ready to be tied," Zamboni told me, "so the inner stalks will blanch. In the winter, I'll make a gratin or deep-fry them or sauté them with onions and tomatoes. So delicious."
So Italian, I thought.