It was an entirely Michael Chiarello-inspired supper. From the new Food Network Magazine came the entrée: his veal, pork and porcini bolognese; and from his Casual Cooking* cookbook, the side: roasted artichokes.

One rule of thumb when shopping at Sendik’s [I may have mentioned this before (??)] – always check out the discount produce table. There are always gems to be found. Last week I snagged papaya, mushrooms and a package of baby artichokes – none of which were worse for wear after a little trimming and paring. The papaya became the star in my favorite breakfast, the mushrooms made an appearance in a creamy leek scramble with swiss shallot crostini, and the artichokes… just look!

Taking a steam bath before heading into the sauna…

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After 35 minutes in the oven, the teeny chokes had transformed. The yet intact pieces were tender and moist, a burst of lemon and garlic in your mouth. The leaves that fell off were crispy and caramelized.

The crunchy bits may have been the best part.

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Alongside a simple green salad with balsamic vinaigrette and the bolognese [a bit “dry” for our liking, but wonderful flavors], the artichokes were a bright and sunny addition. A herald of Spring, I hope.

The wine: Tenuta’s family Sangiovese.

*Signed to me by Michael when my parents met him at NapaStyle last year!

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