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.
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.
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.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) stockpot, 1 (9 x 11) baking dish, 2 large mixing bowls, 1 heavy plate, chef’s knife, 1 (8-inch) sauté pan
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 for the tops
11/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
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)
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.
Over 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.
Directions For Toasted Pine Nuts:
In a dry sauté pan over medium-low heat add the pine nuts. Occasionally swish the pan around over the heat, once you smell the aroma of the nuts they’re ready. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
For the Filling:
In a large bowl add Italian-style bread crumbs, grated garlic, grated Parmigiano-Reggianocheese, toasted 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.
Once cooled, remove the choke in the center of the artichoke. 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 and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. This dish is a show stopper and any dinner party. Serve hot or at room temperature.
There you have it, my Stuffed Artichokes.
*E.V.O.O. is an acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.