Carciofi Ripieni

Stuffed Artichokes

This is the dish to do if you can’t find baby artichokes. Look for globe artichokes with stems as these form part of the stuffing. The preparation of globe artichokes for this dish is exactly the same as for baby artichokes; ‘rub with lemon’ is as important, but when you slice the top off you will expose the choke. This you must scrape out with a teaspoon or melon baller, and then you must remember to squeeze lemon into the cavity. Be ruthless with the outer leaves, as you must get down to the tender ones. Peel the stalk and trim leaf stubs as normal and remember, plenty of lemon. Keep in lemon-acidulated water until needed.

Ingredients

  • 4 globe artichokes (1 per person), prepared as overleaf
  • good olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and very finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • a large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • a little fresh oregano, chopped
  • 250 g fresh breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon

Method

You will need a roasting dish with 4 cm sides which will compactly hold the artichokes in a single layer.

To prepare the stuffing, remove the stems from the artichokes, leaving a flat base on which the vegetables can sit stably. Dice the stems finely. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the artichoke stems and the onion, and sweat until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, parsley and oregano, then transfer to a bowl and mix with the breadcrumbs. The mixture should be just moist enough -because of the oil – to form a slightly cohesive paste when squeezed. If necessary add more oil. Season with salt and pepper and add some lemon juice.

Preheat the oven to 160–180°C/325–350°F/Gas 3–4. Spread open the centre of each artichoke and carefully spoon the stuffing into the cavities. Lightly oil the roasting dish and put the artichokes in, top side up. Pour 5 mm water into the dish, and sprinkle the artichokes with more oil and some salt and pepper, and put in the oven. The water will help prevent the artichokes sticking, and will hasten the cooking by generating steam, but as it may evaporate before they are done, watch carefully and add a little more if needed. They will take about 50 minutes, and the idea is that the water has disappeared about 5 minutes before they are done.

Allow to cool either partially or wholly, and serve with lemon wedges and (optional) good oil.

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