Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Stuffed Artichokes

on August 13, 2014

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. This recipe was one of those dishes. I believe that Italians utilize as much of the vegetable as they can. If you know anything about artichokes. most often a lot of it is either trimmed off or cut off until you get to the heart of it all. Well, preparing like this you don’t waste hardly any of it. Let me explain. I find that many home cooks tend to be intimidated by this strange thistle. But I’m here to fix that if I can.

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So what I like to start is to pull off some of the outer leaves from the bottom.. Then I take a pair of kitchen scissors and cut the point of the rest of the leaves. Be careful they can be sharp. i then cut the stems off so they will have a flat bottom. You’ll see why later. I have a large pot filled with water and 2 cut lemons that I’ve squeezed the juice out of and placed them into the water. This will stop the artichokes from turning brown and oxidizing.

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As you can see I trimmed the stalks down quite a bit and threw them in as well. They are eatable also. To keep the artichokes submerged in the boiling water, I place a plate on top like this.

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I boil the artichokes on med to med-high heat, be careful that the water doesn’t boil over, for anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. You want them to be tender, and it takes about this long for this to happen. Once that’s done remove them and set them aside to cool until the next step.

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So now for the filling, this is so good, trust me. In a large bowl add 5 cups of Italian style bread crumbs. I like to use this because it has seasonings already mixed into the bread crumbs. Then add 2 cloves of grated garlic,3 cups of grated Parmigiano- Reggiano, I add 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, 6 chopped up sun dried tomatoes, 1/4 cup of golden raisins, for some sweetness, and 6 slices of of chopped prosciutto to the bowl. I also add 1/4 of dried parsley flakes, and a pinch of black pepper. No salt because the prosciutto and cheese have enough salt in them. Now to bind all these ingredients together I’m going to add quite a bit of extra virgin olive oil. I start by add 1-1/2 cups, then I stir it all together. If it’s still too dry, you want it to look like a thick paste, I’ll add in another 1/2 a cup at a time.

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So now that the filling is ready, I take the artichokes that are tender and have cooled, and remove the center. This is where the thistle is, and you cannot eat that. So I pull the leaves apart gently util the center is exposed and take a tablespoon and dig the thistle out. It looks like a circular hairy piece known as the thistle or choke.

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You can see here above how the center is now hollowed out. Now it’s time to stuff the bad boys with that filling. I start with the center and work my way out pulling the leaves apart gently and with my fingers cram as much stuffing in between each row of leaves.

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In a baking pan I set the stuffed artichokes. In the bottom I add about a cup of white wine to keep them moist. On the top I add more cheese and drizzle each one with a good amount of E.V.O.O to help the cheese get golden brown and delicious. I bake them off at 350 degrees for around 30 minutes or so, or until the filling is nice and hot and the artichokes have absorbed almost all of the wine.

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When your ready to eat them, just pull each leaf off using the leaf as a spoon and get all of that goodness of each leaf. As you make it to the center, there you’ll find the surprise. The surprise being the heart of the artichoke which is just so darn good. This dish is a show stopper and any dinner party you may have.

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