Stuffed Artichokes Italian Style Step By Step

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stuffed artichokes

The holidays are coming and I can’t think of a better recipe to be posting right now. As a kid stuffed artichokes were always a part of our holiday dinners or special celebrations. Throughout the years I’ve kept that tradition going making them for my own family as well as my husbands. Stuffed artichokes are one thing that’s always requested on the menu.

Thanksgiving food plate

This is a picture of last years Thanksgiving day plate and there’s my stuffed artichoke proudly displayed as one of my sides, I can make a meal of just that, but hey it’s the holidays and its time to splurge!

artichokes

The hardest thing about making stuffed artichokes is searching and seeking out good ones, I definitely go on a search and seek mission to find the best. It usually go to a few different stores or call ahead and talk to the produce guys who can assure me they will set aside a fresh case for me when they arrive.

You’re looking for fresh, firm artichokes with no signs of being discolored, dried or shriveled up.

prepping artichokes

I always say stuffed artichokes are a labor of love, especially when making them for a crowd. No doubt about it, there’s going to be prep involved and it can be time consuming if you’re making a bunch but hopefully this step by step will help ease the process because it’s sure worth it in the end like all good things.

Step 1: Slice off the bottom stem so it can sit upright nicely in a pan, then pull off any lower leaves that look gnarly.

Step 2: Take a very sharp knife or even a good serrated knife and slice off the top third where the artichoke comes to a point.

Step 3: Grab your scissors and snip off the tips of the remaining leaves as pictured above, then open the leaves gently and give it a good rinse.

Step 4: Rub the entire cut area with a fresh lemon to prevent discoloration.

steaming artichokes

I to do a two step method, first steaming the artichokes unstuffed, then into the oven to bake for a while stuffed.

Place them in a sturdy bottomed pot which has a lid and fill it with water half way up to the chokes.

Into the pot I add some roughly chopped garlic cloves, lemon slices, salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil on each artichoke. Doing this gives them a nice flavor and the olive oil helps tenderize the leaves and the bonus is that the flavored steaming liquid can be used again at the bottom of the baking dish when they go into the oven to bake, this will help prevent them from drying out. 

steaming artichokes

Depending on how many I’m making I might have a couple of pans going at the same time, but keep in mind this part can be done ahead of time, like the day before.

You’ll know their done when you can tug at a leaf and it comes right off with ease. Be careful not to overcook them where the artichoke just flops open and almost falls apart, it needs to be intact. Keep in mind it’s still going to be put into the oven.

When finished steaming take them out, drain the liquid from the chokes and let them cool completely on a rimmed baking sheet. At this point you can place them in the fridge overnight and continue the second part of the process the next day if you choose to do that, but remember to reserve the steaming liquid.breadcrumb stuffing

In the meantime you’ll want to mix up your stuffing. One thing I like to point out is that I don’t like using bread crumbs that are super processed in a can and almost look like powder. I have however made my own or have mixed them with a good quality bread crumb that is unseasoned. FYI, I do like Whole Foods in house breadcrumbs, you’ll find them in the bakery section they’re very good with a nice, course texture like homemade.

I must confess I don’t really measure out the stuffing mixture because it will all depend on how much stuffing you personally like to fill them with and how many artichokes you’re making,  but here’s a rough estimate.

Grab a bowl and add your breadcrumbs, start with maybe three cups, then add a good amount of grated pecorino romano cheese, a generous cup or so (I never use parmesan), add some garlic that is finely grated on a microplane about 3 cloves, then lemon zest and a nice bunch of chopped fresh parsley, taste it for salt and pepper adjusting the seasonings to your liking. Then drizzle olive oil onto the mixture until it feels like wet sand.

If you need more, make more, if you made too much put it in a container and keep it in the freezer.

 

prepping artichokes

Are you still with me? Don’t bail your almost there! Now lets talk about the inner spiny choke. Back in the day when I first got married and made these I never removed the choke, I just stuffed them as is. But over the years I much prefer removing all that un edible mess before I stuff them. This is another reason why they are a true labor of love, but in the end it will be a much more pleasant eating experience.

Now because you have them pre-cooked and cooled down, even done the night before like I mentioned, the spiny choke is super easy to remove with either a grapefruit spoon or just a plain spoon.

It’s truly worth the effort. I just sit at my table with the TV on or some music going and take my time removing all of it, right above the precious and coveted heart which you leave in tact.

prepping artichokesstuffing artichokes

While you’re sitting in the same spot with the music or TV going start to stuff them, take your time and spread out each and every leaf gently adding a bit of  the bread crumb stuffing to each. I just use a teaspoon and go around and fill each one as well as the center. I’ll be the first to admit it’s time consuming, but again so worth it!stuffed artichokes

There are a couple of different ways to nestle them into a pan, I like them to have room, some artichokes are really large, I like using those big foil pans if making a bunch. Sometimes I place balls of tin foil in between so they don’t fall over if I don’t have enough to help them stand up straight.

 

stuffed artichokes

To finish them off  for the last phase of baking, drizzle each stuffed artichoke all over with olive oil then place a thinly slice of lemon on top of each one.

Next spoon some of that steaming liquid that was saved on the bottom of the pan, then cover the whole pan with heavy duty foil.

Place the covered pan into a 375F. oven for about 30 minutes, and that’s it! But to be absolutely sure peek underneath the foil and grab a leaf or two to test it out. The stuffing should be nice and moist with a slight crunch and the artichoke nice and tender.

 

stuffed artichokes

It doesn’t matter how many you make the process is the same, stuff each leaf.

stuffed artichokes

Add lemon slices, liquid and bake.

stuffed artichokes

If you have leftovers or give some away no worries they’re excellent the next day or two after, just warm them up and enjoy!

stuffed artichokesstuffed artichokes

Honestly you could just leave me in a corner with one of these beauties and I’m a happy camper, let the festivities begin!

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Comments

  1. Marie – What a great tutorial. I’ve always made my stuffed artichokes the way my mother-in-law did, stuffing them raw and steaming them. It takes forever for the steam to penetrate through the stuffed artichoke. I like your way of doing it much better, and you can do it all ahead of time and pop it in the oven before company comes. I’m sold. Now I just need to find good artichokes.

  2. Kathryn Larson says

    Do you put the liquid from steaming over the chokes or in the pan?

  3. Marie…
    My MIL taught me the steam the stuffed artichoke way. Love yours….spread out over 2 days seems so much more manageable…
    My Sicilian in-laws also put small pieces of provolone cheese in between the leaves….
    Thank you SO much for sharing all your delicious recipes.

  4. Marie, a labor of love on this scale they certainly are, but what a treat at any time. Your family and friends must adore you as you put so much care into what you do. This is the classic way we enjoyed artichokes and even though I live not far from where they are iron & have tried them in infinite ways, the stuffed artichoke remains my favorite.

  5. Michelle Elsten says

    Hi Marie! You probably don’t remember me, but about a decade ago (give or take a few years;) I had a sad little blog called le-potage and we corresponded a bit. I’ve thought of you often through the years and enjoyed your recipes. Well, the World Wide Web has gotten much bigger since those days (pinterest and instagram weren’t even heard of!) but it’s still a small world. I was searching for fall vegetarian recipes on Pinterest and came across a yummy looking vegetable strudel and, much to my surprise, when I clicked on it … saw the header Proud Italian Cook. So I just had to share that with you. And say Hello! So good to see you still at it! All those delicious recipes! I won a drawing that you had: a beautiful wooden salt bowl, a dish towel, and an olive oil container. I have loved and cherished them all and it was the highlight of my year! 🙂 Hope you are well. And I am still drooling over all your delicious recipes! 🙂

    • Michelle, I totally remember you and have thought of you over the years. I so enjoyed your writing and your blog. Hope you are doing well, it was so nice to hear from you!

  6. Your artichokes look fabulous, Marie!

    I admit I usually take a shortcut and stuff my raw trimmed artichokes before steaming them. I have a large steamer pot that allows the raw stuffed artichokes to sit above the boiling water on a perforated platform, so they steam under the lid very well. The artichokes cook up soft and tender and the stuffing and cheese mixture remains tasty. Of course, I also don’t take out the choke ahead of time when I do this.

    If I have more time and have a larger amount of artichokes to stuff I make them your way as I need to set them in the water to cook. My steamer can only hold four large or six smaller artichokes.

    Stuffed artichokes are so delicious!

  7. So very happy to find you. Tornero !

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