Ricotta Stuffed Artichokes with Lemon Herb Oil

The other day I found four of the most beautiful artichokes, they were huge and flawless, I was smitten as soon as I saw them and knew exactly how I was going to cook them.
This is a lighter take on the classic stuffed artichoke, no breading here but equally, if not more delicious. Perfect as an appetizer or side dish. Fresh herb and cheese flavored ricotta fills the cavity of your prepared artichokes, baked til golden and set, then while still warm you drizzle your herb olive oil all over and use that as your dipping sauce! Have I convinced you yet?

I told you they were beautiful! Who could resist these gems!

ricotta stuffed artichokericotta stuffed artichoke My advice would be to prepare and cook your artichokes the day before by steaming or boiling til tender, (but of course you can do it the same day as well.)
Then let them cool completely in a strainer to drain out any excess water, gently cut them right down the middle and remove the fuzzy center with a spoon, refrigerate in a container with some paper towels to soak up the moisture, it will be so much easier the next day when you want to eat them, especially if you’re making a bunch.
I used 2 very large artichokes for this recipe. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, in a bowl combine about a 1 cup of ricotta, a hand full of Parmesan or grated romano cheese, fresh snipped basil and parsley, 1 egg, 1/2 grated garlic clove, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Brush the center and cut side of artichokes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon ricotta into the artichoke halves, and then sprinkle more grated cheese on top.
Place in your oven for about 15-20 minutes till golden brown, you might want to stick it under the broiler for a quick minute to get it more golden but don’t leave and keep checking!
The herb olive oil was made by mincing 1/2 of a garlic clove along with fresh basil, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Place in a small bowl and drizzle in some good olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice.
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All you artichoke lovers out there, you’re gonna love this!