Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stuffed Artichokes.

Most people I've encountered through life, about 80%, see cooking as a chore to be disregarded for the easy task of take-out cuisine. On days like today I wonder to myself what they do on special occasions where food is (noticeably, or not) the epicenter of the day. Do they have it catered by a favorite place? Order pizza? Or simply go out? Whatever it is that works best for them is nice, but in my family we cook all day for nothing more than the enjoyment of spending
time together in the kitchen, and watching as we all remember why it is we love our family food.
My older sister turned 25 today (Happy Birthday! Again.) and wanted my pop-pop's(grandfather's) chicken soup, and stuffed artichokes.
This recipe I made with inspiration from when my family and I had the most wonderful stuffed artichokes at a tiny restaurant called Piccolo's (Ha...) Salty, tangy, savory, and lovely in everyway- I hope you make these for someone you love too.

You will need:
6 Artichokes
2 Lemons
2 cups White wine
1 1/2 cups Bread-crumbs
1 1/2 cups Grated Parmesan cheese
6 Minced cloves of garlic
1 Bunch minced Parsley
1/2 cup Toasted pine nuts
6 (relatively thin) Pieces of cooked pancetta(omit if vegetarian)
1 4-ounce package of goat cheese
1/2 tsp. Crushed red pepper
1 Large bowl of water
Olive oil
3 tbs Butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

To start: Cut 1 of the lemons in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl of water, adding the lemon halves. Set aside.
Trim off the top and stem of the artichoke and cut the tops of the individual leaves to remove the prickly bit atop. Take a melon baller and scoop out the choke of the artichoke, or the tiny hairs that are directly in the middle of the vegetable. (You will remove inner leaves during this process and some purple thin leaves just before you get to the choke itself, but that's normal.) Rinse out the trimmed artichokes and place into the bowl of lemon water.

In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs, parmesan, garlic, parsley, toasted pine nuts, cooked pancetta, crumbled goat cheese, and red pepper flakes. Because of the parmesan and pancetta, you will probably not need to add salt to this, but you can adjust to your taste.
Drizzle in olive oil until this creates a paste that holds together well but is not overly mushy.

In a large pot with a lid, add the 2 cups of white wine and then the trimmed artichokes cut side up. Add enough of the lemon water they were sitting in to reach about 3/4 of the way up the artichokes. Salt the artichokes and bring to a boil with the lid on.
Cook these for about 30 minutes in a boil with the lid.

Remove them from the pot and stuff the inner part as well as the outer leaves with the reserved stuffing. Place them back into their cooking liquid to finish them off for about another 20 minutes with the lid on yet again.

When they're tender, turn off your stove and remove them to a broiler-safe baking dish. DO NOT DISCARD THE COOKING LIQUID. Sprinkle them with a small amount of parmesan cheese and place under the broiler to get crispy and just browned.
While they're browning, turn your attention to the cooking liquid which should be reduced drastically and extraordinarily tasty. Bring this to a simmer over medium heat and whisk in 3 tbs butter to finish the sauce.
Serve the artichokes hot with plenty of their sauce spooned over.

I hope you love these as much as my family does- and please share them with people who mean the most.
Happy Birthday sis! I love you!


  1. Jon and I will most definitely try this. My mom and grandma just told us the story of their first artichokes too! They lived in Beirut for almost a year before they immigrated and this family that lived upstairs from them would drive them around the city on weekends. My mom had her first when they took them to this lake and made artichokes outdoors. My grandma's is funnier though. She went over to a friend's and saw him boiling them in the kitchen and went, "Why are you cooking flowers?!" :)

  2. This looks delicious! I've got to try making them one day soon, then. I've had the pleasure of eating stuffed artichokes for the first time at a friend's home back in October - I liked it a lot!

  3. I know so many people like that, I loev the whole process and get so much joy. These look super yummy and gorgeous.

  4. Thank you so much everyone!
    I wish I had one of these leftover...