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Artichoke Stuffed Artichokes

Around the holidays, those of us who are usually busy and unwilling to spend extra time with fussy, complicated recipes may get the urge to put a little extra love and care into making food for our family and friends. Recently, I found myself in possession of some artichokes. These vegetables are beautifully photogenic and tasty. They require a bit of elbow grease to prepare, but it’s totally worth the extra effort! This recipe is perfect for holiday entertaining, but it’s also perfect for a weekend dinner that will give you enough leftovers for lunch the next day.

 

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While we were busy in the Bourne Explorer test kitchen, we decided to break out the upgraded Leica camera that my husband got me as a gift. I’ve been a little intimidated by the new model, but I’ve been wanting to get more serious with photography, and these artichokes were too pretty to resist!
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I’ve always loved the tangy, meaty flavor of artichokes, but so many stuffed artichoke recipes are bland and overly heavy, masking the natural complexity of the star vegetable with cups of butter and breadcrumbs. I wanted to re-invent and re-vitalize this traditional recipe with bright citrus notes and an extra savory punch from pancetta. But the most important part of my recipe was to reduce the amount of breadcrumbs and instead stuff the artichokes with *more* artichoke — keeping the star vegetable front and center. Like my Leica, these can seem a bit intimidating, but I promise — the recipe isn’t difficult, just a little time-consuming!

 

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Artichoke Stuffed Artichokes 

serves 4 

 

6 fresh large artichokes, 3 cleaned and trimmed, 3 hearts and stems chopped

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1/2 cup pancetta, diced

2 anchovies

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 lemon, juiced

red pepper flakes, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

3/4 cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

 

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Method 

 

Prepare a large bowl of lemon water; then, clean and trim your artichokes: cut an inch off of the top of the artichoke with a serrated knife, and trim the top half of the outer leaves. Trim about an inch off the rest of the leaves with kitchen shears. Rub half of a lemon over the leaves you’ve cut.

Using your thumbs, separate the outer leaves from the purple leaves. Remove all of the purple leaves and the fuzz from the inside of the artichoke.

With a small spoon, scrape away at the artichoke heart until only the smooth flesh remains.

Place four cleaned artichokes with hearts intact in lemon water. Trim all leaves and stems from the remaining two artichokes and dice into 1/4” pieces.

Dice pancetta into 1/4” pieces and thinly slice the onion.

Prepare an anchovy paste using salt, chopped garlic, and anchovies by scraping the side of your knife back and forth against a cutting board.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan and cook the pancetta until just slightly browned. Then, add the anchovy paste and onions and cook until just translucent.

Add the chopped artichoke hearts, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook this mixture on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until browned.

Let the filling cool and toss with toasted pine nuts and breadcrumbs.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 F. Drain the artichokes prepared for stuffing  and nestle together in a baking dish, using the stems from the artichokes as supports in-between. Pour just enough water in the bottom of the dish to cover the bottom third of the artichokes.

Cover the baking dish with foil and poke several holes in the top — we will essentially be steaming the artichokes. Bake these for 45 minutes, then top with grated parmesan and bake for another 10 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. If you want, you can squeeze some extra lemon juice over the artichokes before serving.

Enjoy your hard work, and share with friends and family!

 

 

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Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)


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