I have eaten this dish in the snow-capped mountains above Turin; it is Italian regional cooking in its most heartfelt form. I prefer it with a type of cardoon known in Italy as "gobi" (or hunchback), which is curled as opposed to straight in shape – its taste is the same, but its shape is somehow far more beautiful and adds a rustic authenticity. Bagna cauda is a simple, warm sauce from the Piedmont region.
For the bagna cauda
125ml/4fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, peeled but left whole
125g/4oz unsalted butter
8 salted anchovies
For the vegetables
12 Jerusalem artichokes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp olive oil
12 stalks of roasted cardoon
Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas6.
For the bagna cauda, place the olive oil, garlic, butter and anchovies in a saucepan, place over the lowest heat and cook for 40 minutes, stirring every now and then until the anchovies have dissolved and the garlic is meltingly soft. The warm sauce will look slightly separated, but don't worry – this is about maximum flavour.
Scrub the Jerusalem artichokes under cold running water to remove any dirt, but don't bother to peel them – their skin is delicious. Cut in half lengthwise and place on a roasting tray. Season lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little of the olive oil. Place on the middle shelf and roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the artichokes are tender and golden-brown. Serve with the roasted cardoon and bagna cauda. 'Reuse content