feel at home/sentirsi a casa
Autumn is my favorite season. Once I felt the first chill in the early morning this week, fall’s freshness consumed my every thought as I was immediately brought back to my childhood. I am not sure why, but autumn’s crispness brings about the same memories each year. The home we lived in as a wee-one was just north of New York City and it had a large deck that overlooked a wooded backyard. Walking out on each of the stained slats toward the creek was like floating on a cloud of crimson, golden, and tawny hues leaves.
This dish is that backyard, running around chasing after my brother and sisters, and their friends. It is the sun going down earlier and having to be inside by the time the sun closed its eyes. It is a time when we were a family. It is home.
Sadly, the family that was is no longer, but that home and its memories will forever be etched in my memories.
Chickpeas, Artichokes, Fennel, & Mushrooms
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz. Marinated Artichoke Hearts artichokes, drained and halved
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
6-8 oz. fresh baby bella mushrooms, sliced
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1-2 cups chopped tomatoes, like Pomi
15 oz. can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, rinsed
2 tsp. freshly ground fennel seeds (optional)
1 Tbsp. Ratatouille Spice Blend
1-2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Do not let the onion brown. Stir in garlic and cook for about for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add artichokes, fennel and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 -7minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, seeds (if using), and spice blend; stir well. Reduce to low and simmer for 5 -7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Remove pan from heat. Squeeze lemon half over the vegetables, add parsley and mix well. Add additional salt, and pepper if needed. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan, if preferred.
- Cooking times will vary depending on preferences and dice size.
- If using fresh baby artichokes, cut down to the hearts, scoop out the hairy chokes, and place in a bowl of cold water and juice of half a lemon. Let stand for 30 minutes.
- Ratatouille Spice blend – a finely blended mix herbs and spices, like dried basil, dried parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, red bell peppers, tomato powder
- baby bella mushrooms – cremini or white button mushrooms
- Pomi chopped tomatoes – fresh Roma tomatoes, with vegetable broth or water added if limited juices