Carciofi Ripieni / Stuffed Artichokes
Styling: Anita Parise
Blog: Anita Parise
Photography & Video: Anita Parise
Recipe & Inspiration: Winter warmers & globe artichokes
Wow, it has been cold! Finally, winter and the rain that was much needed is here! I for one love this weather. There is nothing more appealing than a winter’s night, a pleasing glass of red wine, slippers on and a wonderfully home cooked meal. It was only last week that it dawned on me that artichoke season was on our doorstep…
If you’ve never eaten an artichoke before, these thistle looking vegetables may seem confronting to cook and eat. They are quite tough and robust to the eye, but rest assured they are not as scary as their hard exterior.
My family prepared these all the time growing up, and as kids we loved them. The novelty of pulling that fleshy petal between your teeth to get that mouthful of pulpy goodness was just the messy fun we were after. However, we didn’t realize that we were actually eating veggies (a bonus for all you Mums out there).
Seeing that we had such a mild start to winter, this means that there are still plenty of artichokes around. Typically, the season for globe artichokes in Perth is in September (look out for those ones!) However, you can find some beauties around if you know where to go. Whilst looking online the other week, I noticed that Stirling Fresh IGA had globe artichokes on sale – 10 for $8 (which is an absolute steal if you ask me!) So I decided to go and have a look at this almost too good to be true offer. On arrival, right there in front of the entry was a glorious – and ever so attractively stacked – pile of artichokes. They. Looked. Amazing! I immediately started filtering through the pile and hand-picked the ones that I wanted to buy. I couldn’t wait to get home and cook these babies up!
Artichokes can be prepared many different ways, depending on where you are from. The recipes vary – and vary a lot! Grilled, boiled, roasted, pickled, stuffed, steamed, cooked in sugo … oh my and the list goes on. As delicious as all of these varieties are, there is one recipe that is my favourite in particular. Even better still, it is a complete meal in one serving!
My version was taught to my Mum by her aunty and this is the most common way my Mum prepares them. A hearty meat and breadcrumb mixture, stuffed artichoke, cooked in a delicate and flavoursome broth. I can’t quite tell you the origins of this recipe, however I have heard of this brodo-type process, practiced in the regions of Abruzzo and Sicily.
Either way, I’m not going to lie – it’s delicious. And despite where the origins of this dish come from, it’s totally worth a go! Perfect on a winter’s night with a glass of red … and your slippers on preferably ☺️. Enjoy!
Ciao for now & Buon Appetito,
Anita, Renee & the GR Team
- 7 x carciofi - *please see notes
- 1 x medium brown onion, chopped finely
- 600g of beef mince
- ½ cup of cheese, grated (we used pecorino)
- ¾ cup of breadcrumbs
- One large handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
- 1 x egg
- 4 or 5 x small potatoes
- Some olive oil
- 1 x lemon
- Salt for seasoning
*I used a 4.7L pot approx. 30cm in diameter and 10cm high.
A variation of this recipe would be to serve in a sauce – to try this version prepare the artichokes the same as above but, at the step where you add the water to the pot, add cooked plain sauce (approx. 2 bottles of passata), add a cup of water if necessary to thin it out a little, cover and cook for the same amount of time. This is wonderful served with Golden Ravioli’s fresh linguini ladled with the rich yet delicately flavoured artichoke sauce – cut the artichoke in half and place atop of the pasta.
- Begin by adding a generous splash of oil into a fry pan, add the mince and onions and cook until browned – season lightly.
- Transfer the mixture and the juices into a bowl and set aside to cool. Whilst the mixture is cooling prepare the artichokes.
- Fill the sink up with water. Squeeze in the juice of one lemon and then drop the lemon in.
- Start by removing the stalk of the artichoke – cut the stalk from the base of the bud. Be sure to get a straight, level and flat cut as you want the bottom of the artichoke to stand flat on its own. It is okay if a few outer leaves fall away during this process – as long as the base is flat that is fine. Put the stalk aside as you will need this later on.
- Next, turn the artichoke on its side and cut the top of the bud – approximately 2 - 2.5 cm depending on the size of the artichokes.
- Turn the artichoke on the freshly cut top. With both hands, push down firmly on the artichoke using your body weight to “open up” the bud and separate some of the petals. (please see the making of video if you are unsure of the preparation process). You should be able to put your fingers in the middle of the artichoke (this is where the stuffing will be placed.
- Place the opened artichoke in the lemon-water and repeat this process with the remaining artichokes until you are ready to stuff them.
- Take the remaining stalks and trim the ends off as these are often woody. Look for the white/pale green centre, with a sharp knife, careful not to slice your fingers, cut the exterior stalk away so you are left with a narrow, clean and pale stalk. Cut this in half and place in the lemon-water. Repeat this process with all remaining stalks.
- While the artichokes are soaking, prepare the stuffing. Add the parsley, breadcrumbs, egg, salt and cheese and combine well. The mixture should be slightly wet but cohesive enough to be able to stuff so it holds its shape.
- Take one of the artichokes and shake off the excess water. Start with a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and press into the centre of the artichoke. With an additional tablespoon place on top of the artichoke and press with the palm of your hand so the mixture fills the top entirely. Give it a good press to ensure it will not spill out during the cooking process. Repeat this with the remaining artichokes.
- *Please Note: If you have additional stuffing left over, add it to the tops of the already stuffed artichokes and press down firmly, they will be slightly domed in appearance, which is fine.
- Once all the artichokes are stuffed place them in a medium-large pot. My pot was big enough for 7 artichokes and I filled the gaps with a few potatoes cut in half so that the artichokes would not move once filled up with water.
- Fill the pot with salted water up until just before the stuffing. You do not want the water touching the stuffing but you do want it covering most of the outer leaves.
- Cover with a lid and place on the stove top on a moderate heat for 45-50 minutes and top with more boiled water if it evaporates too much – you want the liquid reduced by at the most half. Once the outer leaves are tender you know they are ready.
- Serve one artichoke per person with a ladleful or two of the broth – be sure to ladle the broth over the stuffing to remoisten it. Serve with a few stalks and potatoes for the complete experience.
- To eat, simply pull the outer petals away one at a time and with the inside of the ‘petal’ facing up, pull between your teeth so the flesh is eaten and discard the leaves. Once you start getting to the tender petals, these are wonderful to eat whole – no need to scrape off the flesh. And of course the stuffing and the centre of the artichoke are the best bits!