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Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed Artichoke

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Growing up, whenever there was a special occasion this dish was in high demand. I can remember she would always ask what it was that we would like her to make. Stuffed Artichokes was one of those dishes.

I believe that Italians utilize as much of a vegetable as they can. If you know anything about artichokes, much of it is either trimmed or cut. Preparing the artichokes using this method prevents that waste. Let me explain. I find that many home cooks tend to be intimidated by this strange thistle. I’m here to help fix that fear.

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Artichokes

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Prosciutto

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Proscuito

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Pine Nuts

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Take the cooled artichoke and remove the center. This is where the thistle is located and is not editable. Start by pulling the leaves apart gently until the center of the artichoke is exposed, take a tablespoon and dig out the thistle. It looks like a circular hairy piece also known as the choke. Repeat this process for the remaining artichokes.

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You can see here above how the center is now hollowed out. To stuff, the artichokes, start with the bottom working your way around pulling the leaves apart gently and with your fingers. Continue until you reach the center. Stuff as much of the filling between the leaves as possible.

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Stuffed Artichoke

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) stockpot, 9 x 11 baking dish, 2 large mixing bowls, 1 heavy plate

Ingredients:
4 medium fresh artichokes
4 cups of Italian style breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, freshly grated
1 1/2 cups Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated, plus 4 tablespoons
2 tablespoon pine nuts
6 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
6 slices Prosciutto, julienned
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup *E.V.O.O. more if necessary
1 cup of good dry white wine
2 lemons, juiced (save juiced lemons for the water)
water

Directions:
Start by pulling off some of the outer leaves from the bottom. Then take a pair of kitchen scissors, trim the tips (the pointy sharp part) of the leaves. Next, cut the stems off so they will have a flat bottom.

Fill a 6-quart stockpot 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up with water. Cut 2 lemons in half, juice the lemons right into the water. Throw the remaining parts of the two lemons into the water too. This prevents the artichokes from turning brown and/or oxidizing.

As you can see I trimmed the stalks (stems) down quite a bit. I did throw the stalks into the pot because they’re edible. To keep the artichokes submerged in the boiling water, place a plate on top like this.

On medium-high heat, bring the artichokes up to a boil. Once up to a boil adjust the heat so as to keep the water at a boil but not so high the water boils over. Continue to cook the artichokes for 45 minutes or until fork-tender. Transfer the artichokes and the stems to a plate to cool. Prepare the filling while boiling the artichokes.

For the Filling:
In a large bowl add Italian-style bread crumbs, grated garlic, grated Parmigiano-Reggianocheese, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, golden raisins, freshly ground black pepper, Italian flat-leaf parsley, and julienned Prosciutto. The prosciutto and cheese add a saltiness to the filling, no extra salt is needed. Finally, add the *E.V.O.O., stir to combine. You want the consistency of wet sand. You may need to adjust the amount of oil depending on the type and amount of breadcrumbs used.

…Continued Directions:
Take the cooled artichoke and remove the center. This is where the thistle is located and is not editable.

Start by pulling the leaves apart gently until the center of the artichoke is exposed, take a tablespoon and dig out the thistle. It looks like a circular hairy piece also known as the choke. Continue to scrape out the choke until the center of the artichoke is completely hollowed out. Repeat this process for the remaining artichokes. For reference, refer to the pictures above.

To stuff, the artichokes, start with the bottom and work your way around pulling the leaves apart gently and with your fingers. Continue until you reach the center. Stuff as much of the filling between each row of leaves.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
In a large baking dish, place the stuffed artichokes along with the stems. Add a cup of white wine. Top each artichoke with more cheese and drizzle each one with a good amount of *E.V.O.O.

Bake for around 30 minutes, or until the filling is nice and hot, the cheese is golden brown, and the artichokes have absorbed almost all of the wine.

When you’re ready to eat the Stuffed Artichokes, just pull each leaf off using the leaf as a natural spoon, getting all that deliciousness off each one. As you make your way to the center, there you’ll find the best surprise of all, the heart of the artichoke. The heart is the most tender part of the whole artichoke. Don’t forget about those stems too, YUM!

Garnish with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley. This dish is a show stopper and any dinner party.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

*E.V.O.O. is the acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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Pappardelle With A Braised Beef Short Rib Ragu

Braised Beef Short Ribs With Parpadelle

Short Rib Ragu With Pappardelle

This dish is one you’ll want to serve to family and friends. I just loved the response I received. I know that once you make my Pappardelle With A Braised Beef Short Rib Ragu you’ll make again and again. Let’s get started.

The star of this dish is the beef short ribs. I want to let you know that this cut of meat can be expensive. My butcher happens to carry both styles of beef short ribs, bone-in and boneless. The boneless type of beef short ribs is cut from either chuck or plate and consists of rib meat. I’m going to use both bone-in and boneless beef short ribs in my Pappardelle With A Braised Beef Short Rib Ragu.

Whenever you’re planning on making this type of dish, it’s important to prep all the vegetables in advance.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes (3)

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Rosemary

Thyme

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I have 2 pounds of boneless beef short ribs and 2 pounds of bone-in beef short ribs. Above you will see that I’ve set the meat out on a couple of paper towels to pat them completely dry on all sides. The reason for this is to get a good sear on the outside of the meat.

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This is what they’ll look like when they’ve been seared in the oven.

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Start ladling the veggies into the processor.

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This is what the thickened sauce will look like when you’re done.

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This Artisanal pasta cooks for only 8 minutes. You want to cook the pasta to the al-dente stage.

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Braised Beef Short Ribs With Parpadelle

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 10-cup food processor, 6-quart stockpot, Microplane or vegetable peeler

Ingredients:
2 pounds of boneless beef short ribs
2 pounds of bone-in beef short ribs
1/3 cup of good olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoon of good olive oil
5 large cloves whole garlic, peeled
2 ribs of celery, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 sweet potato, peeled 2 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium-size carrots, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 yellow bell pepper, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 orange bell pepper, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 fresh bay leaves, substitute dried
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, drained
2 1/2 cups of Cabernet Sauvignon
3 cups of beef stock, unsalted
Garnish with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Garnish with shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

2 packages (2 pounds) of Pappardelle

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.

Lay all the short ribs in a single layer onto paper towels. Take another paper towel and pat the tops dry too. Once dry, transfer the short ribs to a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Toss together until all the ribs are coated.

Lay the seasoned short ribs in a single layer onto 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes until caramelized.

While the short ribs are roasting dice the vegetables, tie the herbs up together with kitchen twine (herb bouquet), and have all the liquids premeasured for the dish.

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the onions, sweet potato, carrots, celery, and bell peppers. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until softened and golden brown.

Add tomato paste to the pot, stir to combine. Add 1 cup of the Cabernet, stirring and scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the remaining red wine and simmer until the wine reduces by half. Add the whole garlic cloves, beef stock, and the *bouquet garni of fresh herbs.

Adjust oven temperature to 350-degrees F.

Remove the short ribs from the oven, transfer them to the pot. Over medium-high heat bring the liquid to a boil. Turn the heat off. Cover and transfer pot into the oven. Cook until the short ribs are tender, 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours.

Carefully remove the cooked short ribs from the pot. Let cool down enough before handling. As soon as the ribs are cool enough, remove the meat from those that have bones. Using two forks shred all the meat into small pieces.

Thicken the sauce in small batches. First, remove the herb bouquet. Ladle 1/3 of the cooking liquid and vegetables into the food processor.

Note: Be very careful when processing hot liquids. Place the lid on, cover with a dish towel, hold your hand over the top opening.

Pulse until smooth. Transfer the processed sauce to a large bowl. Repeat this process until all the cooking liquid and vegetables are processed.

Return the thickened sauce back into the pot along with the shredded beef short ribs, stir to combine. Cover to stay hot while making the pasta. If you have a burner with a “warm” setting, that’s perfect.

Fill a large stockpot with water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Salt well and stir in pasta. Cook until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta. Add the drained pasta to a large serving platter. Ladle the Beef Short Rib Ragu over the pasta and gently toss.

Garnish the Beef Short Rib Ragu With Pappardelle with fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley and shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serve immediately.

*bouquet garni is a bunch of herbs typically encased in a cheesecloth bag, used for flavoring soups or stews.

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