Caputo’s Artichoke Parmesan

1/2 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups extra virgin olive oil
2-14 oz. cans artichoke bottoms
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 lb. tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggianno, grated
1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

Make a batter by combining the flour and about 1/4 cup of water with a pinch of salt and beating briskly. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a little more water and beat until the batter is the consistency of heavy cream. Let the batter rest for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the garlic in the olive oil, do not brown. Add the tomatoes with some salt and pepper, cook for about 30 minutes to slightly reduce.

While the sauce cooks, pour about a half of an inch of olive oil in the bottom of a skillet and heat over medium high heat. When the oil is hot enough to fry, dip the artichokes in the batter and fry until golden, turning as necessary. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Spread a couple of tablespoons of the tomato sauce over the bottom of an oiled baking dish. Add a layer of the fried artichokes, some grated parmesan and some mozzarella slices. Scatter some basil on top. Repeat layering until the ingredients are gone. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

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