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How to cook like an Italian

Stuffed Artichokes, a southern Italian classic

I can’t remember a family holiday in my house that didn’t include stuffed artichokes.  I have since seen it widely served at fellow Italian friends’ homes, but I never see this in restaurants.  I think it’s because although they are fairly simple to prepare, they are super messy to eat and maybe restaurant owners are trying to be considerate of their customers by not tempting them with the inevitable.  You can’t eat one of these the right way and not wind up with a mess all over your face and hands. But believe me when I tell you, they are worth every crumb that could possibly land on your shirtfront.

The key to eating these is to attack the whole thing with reckless abandon.  Don’t worry about what anyone thinks-just go to to town, peeling one leaf after another and scraping off the stuffing and meat of the artichoke with your teeth.  As you work your way towards the inside and the leaves get softer, you can grab a bunch at a time and eat the whole bottom half of them.  Just be careful that you do not eat the prickly nettles that stick out from the heart.  Instead, take a spoon and scoop out the nettles, leaving the very bottom of the artichoke and the heart behind.  This is, of course, the prize after all that work of eating the leaves.  This is the absolute best thing in the world to eat!

Now making them is easy.  Here’s what I do:

Stuffed Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 4 large artichokes (get them on sale, otherwise they’re crazy expensive!)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (if they are plain, add a handful of chopped parsley)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 2 sliced garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper
  • EVOO
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • water

Instructions

Take the chokes and cut off the bottom to level them off so they can stand up straight. Peel off any outer leaves that look really tough or that are just hanging off.  Cut the tops of the artichokes so then are flat across.

In a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic cloves and salt and pepper.  Take the chokes and pry open the leaves away from the middle a little bit, just so you can start stuffing the crumb/cheese mixture in between the leaves.  Do this until all four are sufficiently stuffed then places the chokes in a heavy bottomed sauce pot that goes up well over the height of the chokes and one that has a cover to it.  Drizzle EVOO all over the tops of the chokes for added flavor and to keep the stuffing extra moist. Fill the pot with first the wine and then enough water to come up halfway up the sides of the chokes.  Put on the stove and bring to a low simmer.  Cover and cook until soft, at least 45 minutes.  It’s pretty hard to overcook these, but you do not want them to be dry so don’t undercook them and make sure it’s covered tightly.

Enjoy!


24 Responses to “Stuffed Artichokes, a southern Italian classic”

  1. nancy says:

    There is a little Italian resturant in Kenilworth NJ who makes the best…besides my own

  2. Therese says:

    Question! What about the choke? You don’t take it out? Do you just eat around it? Thanks!

  3. Terry Ambroso Gonzalez says:

    Haven”t had these since my mom passed,they are the greatest.I’m sure going to make them soon!!!

  4. Darlene says:

    We always had articokes, hoildays, if they were on sale, my mom would pick some up, and steam them, and we would dip them in Olive Oil. yummy :)

  5. Clorinda Bommarito ( Married Name ) says:

    My Mom did almost the same thing. No wine vinegar and she simmered them in tomato sauce..They were yummy. But then that was years ago since I am almost 80..♥

  6. taramiller pa says:

    my daughter will not eat any fruit or ver no porkchop or hamburger i tryed everything help an ideal

  7. Louisa says:

    These look amazing!

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  9. Maryann says:

    Don’t forget to peel and cook the stems as well – a little treat for the cook…

  10. Diana says:

    These look great, but…..the very best stuffed artichokes I’ve ever tasted were at “MARIA’S TAKE-OUT KITCHEN” (or was it Take-Out Pizza???)in Brentwood, CA. I haven’t been there in years, since I no longer live in L.A. Don’t know if the place is still there, but she also opened other restaurants in the Valley in CA. She also added sausage meat to her mixture, which made it a meal all by itself. In fact, everything from her kitchen was totally outstanding, including the Pizzas,second best to authentic NY Pizza, and her “Chicken Famiglia” was awesome. Boy, oh boy, I sure do miss her cooking.

  11. Christina says:

    My mom also puts some finely shredded carrots in the breadcrumb mixture, for added sweetness, and instead of water in the pot with the wine, she uses Chicken Broth. Just a thought! They are the best :)

  12. Jane says:

    How do you keep the breadcrumb mixture moist. Do you baste the artichokes with the broth?

  13. Barbara says:

    Makes my mouth water just thinking about them. I wash and trim the chokes. Make the stuffing with day old italian bread torn into small pieces and mix with chopped olives, salt and pepper and garlic powder. Moisten with oil to hold together and stuff all the leaves. I put them in a pressure cooker for 30-35 minutes depending on size. They are delicious!

  14. carol says:

    Barbara, those sound just like the ones my family makes:) No longer just a holiday treat!

  15. Joan Crosby says:

    Aunt Rae would offer me a quarter for the heart when I was a little girl !

  16. Angelina says:

    When we were on vacation in Sicily, Italy I ordered the stuffed artichokes. Totally delish. I bought a local Sicilian cookbk. The use a few anchovies melted in olive oil with some finely chopped up garlic (or u can grate the garlic so u don’t get chunks in ur mouth), then they toast the bread crumbs in the frying pan over heat, Next add a mixture of fresh lemon juice, wine, chopped fresh parsley, and grated locatelli cheese to the crumbs (they come off the heat as soon as toasted). Mix it all up, add more evoo to moisten if needed, s&p and stuff the chokes. Sometimes I add pine nuts, or mushrooms sauteed, or crab meat-the list is endless. I cook them in a chicken broth/water mix, but next time I’ll try adding some wine to the broth. I also peeled and cooked the stems-just threw them in the broth. They taste just like the hearts!

  17. Love your outfit on show today made you look so slim all over.

  18. Rose says:

    My mother makes these with parsley mint and garlic stuffing. But my mother in law made the best and she used ritz crackers in place of the bread crumbs. Gives a nice buttery flavor. I asked her why ritz crackers and she said that sometimes when you don’t have what you need, you invent. The best.

  19. Kristin says:

    Your recipe looks amazing, thank you for sharing! I love cooking with artichokes as well. I just made these http://divingintovinoagain.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/basil-vinaigrette-roasted-artichokes/

  20. Toni says:

    I grew up with these in my grandmother’s kitchen. My grandparents are Sicilian. My grandmother cut off the stem, shaved off as little as possible from the stump end and around the sides. It went into the wood chopping bowl with the garlic. I still have that wood bowl and I am in my late 50s.It is so well seasoned! My daughter-in-law just asked me for my recipe. Now I have to sit and think about how much a handful is, how much is a pinch, and how much olive oil to drizzle. I guess I better get busy getting this onto the next generation.

  21. Don Sicura says:

    Hi Rachael, I’m a long time fan, I enjoy watching your show, even though I already know how to cook Sicilian as my family emigrated from Sicily, but your perspective gives me fresh ideas to try & yes I even enjoy eating my mistakes. I never appreciated how wonderful it was growing up Sicilian/Italian until just about everyone was gone and I moved south, sad to say there are so few good Italian restaurants here in SC that I have to cook my own meals if I want true Sicilian cooking. God bless you and centanni.

  22. Vicki says:

    I grew up eating stuffed artichokes, too! Ours were stuffed with a meatloaf mixture with Romano cheese on top. We have always had a big artichoke patch in the garden, so I don’t think I have ever bought one! We freeze them and eat them all year.

  23. Jill Santuccio says:

    Rachel (and readers!),
    Every year we were allowed to pick the menu for our birthday and every year I wanted stuffed artichokes. In retrospect, since my birthday is Jan. 4 and I grew up in upstate New York, I don’t know how my mom FOUND fresh artichokes that time of year …. but she never disappointed! Just one of my many favorite family recipes (that most people don’t understand)1

  24. Lou Caruana says:

    All Italian food was a must in my childhood home. My Fathers’ family came from Porto Empedocle, in the far South of Sicily, (where the good food is. lol)
    I use a slight variation of this recipe but nearly right on. The only difference being, after boiling the unstuffed artichoke until it was tender, (when the bottom leaves pulled of easily) I remove the fuzzy center, stuff the entire artichoke, with lots in the middle, add the mix and freshly grated Parmesan cheese on the top and back in the oven at 350 degrees until the top browns and then it’s time to chow down. This is the way my grandmother made them as well. It’s an old family recipe as I well know, since I’m 72 now and remember them from, when I was just a child. Got some in the fridge now and I’m going to make them now ;-) Bye the way, don’t be telling everyone about the stem!! That’s our secret ;-)

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