A ragu is basically a well-seasoned stew. This one takes its flavor from the tarragon, which brings out the best in the array of seasonal vegetables. This recipe was created by Stephanie Alexander and can be found in The Meat Free Monday Cookbook.
8 garlic cloves, whole and unpeeled
2 pounds fresh fava beans in pods, shelled
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped
4 trimmed and cooked artichoke hearts, halved or quartered, depending on size
12 baby turnips, peeled
1 cup vegetable stock
1 pound peas in pods, shelled
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped French tarragon
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper
Put the garlic in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring slowly to a boil over low-medium heat, then drain. Repeat this process and then slip the skins off each clove and set aside in a bowl.
Refill the saucepan with water and return to a boil over high heat, and drop the fava beans into the boiling water for 1 minute only. Immediately drain in a colander and tip into a bowl of ice-cold water. Then peel the beans. Reserve until needed.
Melt half of the butter in a sauté pan over a medium heat. Once it starts to froth, add the artichoke pieces, turnips, and peeled garlic, and sauté until the artichoke pieces become golden flecked with brown. Add the vegetable stock and peas, then cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover, scatter with the beans and herbs, and shake gently to mix; there should be very little liquid remaining in the pan. If it still looks sloppy, increase the heat to high and continue to shake the pan. Add the remaining butter to form a small amount of sauce. Taste for seasoning; there probably won’t be any need to add salt. Grind over some black pepper and serve at once.