Stuffed Artichokes Italian Style Step By Step

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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Springtime Risotto

springtime risotto I know spring is here when I see tender asparagus, early peas and my beloved baby artichokes popping up in the produce aisles. Baby artichokes are so easy to prepare and with a little trimming  you’re able to eat the whole thing, there’s no comparison to the taste and texture of fresh verses frozen, jarred or canned, none at all!

spring time risotto One way I love to showcase them is with risotto, the creamy rice along with the tender veggies are just the perfect combination!

spring risotto ingredients With minimal prep work you can get this on your table in no time and what a treat it is, a one pan wonder in deed. Don’t be intimidated when making risotto it just needs a little nurturing  and constant stirring but you can’t beat the end result!

spring time risotto This meal will make you, your family and your guests very happy!

( You can also follow Proud Italian Cook on Instagram to see what else I’m cooking up during the week )

5.0 from 2 reviews
Springtime Risotto
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 fresh BABY artichokes, trimmed and kept whole
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced into rounds
  • 1 lb. of fresh asparagus, tender and thin, trimmed and cut into thirds or fourths
  • 1 heaping cup of fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 small leek, cleaned and sliced
  • 1½ cups of arborio rice
  • 1 quart of chicken or vegetable stock, warmed and simmering on the stove
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese, finely shredded
  • handful of parsley
  • 1 tablespoon, butter
  • 2 or so tablespoons of olive oil
Instructions
  1. Prep veggies ahead of time, for the Baby Artichokes: Snap off the outer leaves until you reach the tender pale yellow green layers, then with a serrated knife trim the tip and stems. You can steam or boil, they take about 15 minutes, I usually boil placing them whole into the water with some lemon slices and a drizzle of olive oil. When finished, let them cool then place them tip side down and cut in half, you now will have 8 artichoke halves.
  2. For the Asparagus, roast on sheet pan at 400, don't let them get brown, it only takes a couple of minutes.
  3. For the Zucchini Rounds, saute in olive oil, medium high heat on top of stove until golden, just a couple of minutes it takes.
  4. Cook Peas accordingly.
  5. FOR THE RISOTTO:
  6. Have broth simmering on low heat in separate pan.
  7. In a heavy bottom pan heat olive oil and butter on medium heat, when melted add in the leeks, cooking until soft.
  8. Add in rice, stirring for a few minutes until well coated and hot.
  9. Deglaze with wine, let it cook down for a few seconds.
  10. Add in a ladle full of broth, stirring until it all absorbs.
  11. Continue adding in broth, same way, stirring it and letting it all absorb.
  12. You'll know when it's done because rice mixture will become creamy and tender with just a little bite, you don't want your rice to taste mushy.
  13. Pull off the heat, add in the cheese and stir until incorporated, add a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and gently fold in all the veggies.
  14. Garnish with parsley.

 

 

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Lidia’s Chicken with Artichokes

I love Lidia, not only for her fantastic food, but for her down to earth, real, no gimmick, personality.
You won’t find any “Bam!” on her show, but what you will find is a warm, family oriented person, who shows her deep love for her Italian heritage, through her food, family and culture.

What I love about this one pot meal is that it’s simple, with good ingredients. Anything with my beloved artichokes makes me smile. Braise it on your stove top on a Sunday afternoon, and just the smell will make you happy!

You can serve this with polenta, rice, pasta, mashed potato’s or some good crusty bread to sop up the sauce!

You’ll want to use a nice heavy pot for this dish. When I was on vacation last year I happened across a Le Creuset outlet store, :)) I was deciding which one I should get, red or blue, tough choice! but as you can see in my first photo, I chose the red one.

I love how Lidia always gets her grand kids cooking in the kitchen with her, in hopes that the memories and smells, and taste’s, will be something that they can always recall when they are adults.
This is my grandaughter “B” Isn’t she cute? making some garlic bread for our dinner, a little picky in the food department right now, but we’re working on it!!
Here’s the recipe:

CHICKEN WITH ARTICHOKES
1 lemon for acidulated water (see below)
1 1/2 pounds baby artichokes
1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt, or to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/4 teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups (28 ounces) canned Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand (reserve the juices)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
To prepare the artichokes, fill a large bowl with a couple of quarts of cold water, and squeeze in the juice of a medium lemon (drop in the cut lemon halves too). Trim the artichokes one at a time, first snapping off the thick outside leaves, until you reach the tender, pale inner leaves. Trim the tip of the stem, but leave most of it attached to the base. With a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, shave off the dark skin of the stem, exposing the tender core. Peel around the globe of the artichoke too, removing the dark-green spots where the tough leaves were attached. Cut across the leaf tips with a serrated knife, removing the top third of the artichoke. Slice the entire artichoke in half lengthwise, splitting the bulb and stem and drop the pieces into the acidulated water.
Rinse the chicken, and pat it dry. Cut it into 10 or 12 pieces (including backbone), and season with one-half teaspoon salt.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and lay the chicken pieces in it without crowding — cook them in batches if necessary. Brown the pieces for about 3 minutes on each side, until each is nicely colored on all sides. Remove the pieces to a platter or bowl.
When all the chicken is out of the pan, drop the crushed garlic into the hot fat and cook for a minute or two, until sizzling. Lift the artichokes out of the water, and drop them, still damp, into the saucepan. Stir well, and season them with one-half teaspoon salt and the peperoncino flakes.
Cook the artichokes for 4 or 5 minutes, tossing them often and deglazing the browned bits in the pan bottom. When the artichokes are dry and starting to take color, carefully pour in the wine and cook over high heat, stirring, until it is nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes longer.
Pour in the tomatoes with juices and 3 cups water; slosh the tomato container with some of the water to rinse juices into the pan. Cover the pan, and bring the liquid to a boil. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady bubbling, and cook the artichokes and sauce for about 15 minutes.
Return all the chicken pieces (and any accumulated juices on the platter) to the saucepan, submerging them in the sauce. Cover the pan and cook the chicken and artichokes together for about 40 minutes, after which the chicken should be nearly done, the artichokes tender and the sauce somewhat reduced. Set the cover ajar — or remove it altogether — and continue cooking 15 to 25 minutes or more, until the sauce has thickened and coats the chicken and artichoke pieces. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve immediately, or, for best flavor, let the chicken cool in the pot and reheat later. If the sauce has thickened, stir in a bit of water. Serve hot from the pan, or from a big bowl. Sprinkle parsley over it just before serving.
Serves 6.
— Adapted from “Lidia’s Italy
Buon Appetito!!!
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VEGETALI ALLA MARIE!!

This is a great side dish that I make for special occasions. It is a highly requested vegetable dish, that my family loves. Every time I make it, the whole thing gets eaten up! and believe me I make a lot! I think it goes great with a ham, pork,a roast of any kind. I make it as a side with any baked pasta dish, like a lasagna, or stuffed shells, you get my point, pretty much anything you make for a special meal. I think its a combination of flavors, and the choice of veggies that makes this taste so good! This is an old family recipe that I’ve been making for years, and we never get tired of it!

Here’s the ingredients, and by the way, you use all frozen veggies!! ( Of course you can use fresh if you want to) Make as much as you want, maybe a bag or 2 of each vegetable, I’m sorry but I never measure, it all depends on how many people you are serving. I fill a huge pan and always use extra artichokes. There is no set rule, you can adjust the amount as you wish. 🙂

Italian flat beans
Artichoke hearts
Asparagus
Lima beans

1/2lb. of meaty bacon (diced up small)
Garlic flavored olive oil ( a must!)

First thing you do is to take all the veggies and put them in a strainer and let them defrost.

In a large saute pan, cook your bacon until real crispy, hopefully there won’t be a lot of fat in the pan cause you bought meaty bacon,:-) but if there is, drain it off, and leave all the crispy bits. Next coat the pan with some garlic olive oil, this is a must! Then, put all the veggies in the pan all together,and on a med high heat, turn often till coated with the bacon and garlic oil, blending and scraping up the crispy bits. Salt and pepper it to taste, and you can even add a little regular extra virgin olive oil for some added flavor.
You really have to keep tasting this as it cooks, for enough salt and pepper, and enough olive oil flavor.

When everything is heated through, and all the flavors blend together, its done! There’s something about the combination of the artichokes with the lima beans and all the other ingredients that make this taste so good!!

Buon Appetito

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