Artichokes are my favorite vegetable, so any recipe for them always manages to thrill me, but this is the recipe I remember from my years growing up and going to school in Rome. I lived in the area around the Borghese gardens, overlooking the green treetops of the park with the cupola of St. Peter perfectly silhouetted against the most glorious sunsets imaginable. I learned to strip and clean artichokes here, sitting around a central bucket filled with cold water and cut lemons, amazed then as I am now at how much of the vegetable seems to be wasted in the long process of stripping and trimming. But the guilty feeling of all that waste evaporates the moment you start to eat them, especially when tenderly prepared as here. If you have never prepared an artichoke for braising, let me reassure you that the huge pile of detritus at the end of the process is how it should be!
Artichokes come in all shapes and sizes, and there are countless variations on the basic braising recipe, which mainly consist of changing the ingredients used to fill the interior of the artichoke. This is one of my favorite dishes, and one I often serve as an appetizer, either hot or cold.
“Everyone eats well in Italy. Eating well is a sign of well being, of the normal functioning of a family.”
© 2008 Valentina Harris. All rights reserved.