- 2 lemons, halved
- 12 baby artichokes (1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 large white onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 10 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves, plus 3 basil stems
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 3 ounces buffalo mozzarella, plus 2 tablespoons of the liquid from the container
- Fill a large bowl with water. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon halves, then add the lemon halves to the water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, peel off the dark green outer leaves. Cut off the top fourth of the artichoke; peel and trim the stem. Slice the artichoke lengthwise 1/8 inch thick and drop into the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes.
- Drain the artichokes and discard the lemon. In a large saucepan, combine the artichokes with the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, the white wine, water, onion, garlic, basil stems and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the artichokes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, discarding the basil and bay leaf.
- In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the artichokes and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped basil and season with salt.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the mozzarella with 2 tablespoons of its liquid and the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil until smooth. Spoon the mozzarella cream onto plates, top with the artichokes and serve.
The braised artichokes and mozzarella cream can be refrigerated separately for 2 days. Serve warm and whisk the mozzarella cream before serving.
It's an Umbrian-inspired dish, so Dan Amatuzzi chooses a nutty Umbrian white to serve with it, like a Vitiano Bianco, a blend of Verdicchio and Vermentino.