Artichoke Soup (Zuppa di Carciofi)

Artichoke Soup (Zuppa di Carciofi)

5 medium artichokes
juice of one lemon
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, white and pale-green parts, sliced, washed well
3 shallots, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 fresh bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon peperoncino flakes (crushed red pepper flakes) (optional)
3 quarts water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Clean and prepare the artichokes. (To clean artichokes, fill a bowl with approximately one quart of cold water and add the juice of one lemon, plus the squeezed-out lemon halves. Peel and trim the stem of the first artichoke. Pull off any tough outer leaves and discard. Using a paring knife, trim away any tough parts around the base and stem of the artichoke. With a serrated knife, cut off the top third of the artichoke and discard.) Put cleaned artichokes in a serving bowl and toss with the lemon juice.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and shallots. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle in the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and peperoncino. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Add the prepped, drained artichokes, and bring the soup to a rapid simmering. Cook, uncovered, until artichokes are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Stir in the chopped parsley.

Adapted from Lidia's Italy in America
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