Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes

Finally it is spring and the beginning of produce season that doesn't involve root vegetables.  There's a lot to look forward to in spring and early summer, and one of the ways I find cooking inspiration is just by paying attention to what's fresh and new produce-wise at Whole Foods and the Farmer's Markets.  This weekend, I saw some artichokes at Whole Foods, which I haven't seen fresh in a long time. It just so happens that lately my wife has been reminiscing of a recipe from her mom's side of the family:  stuffed artichokes.  Her mom's family is Sicilian and her grandmother (nunnie) has a plethora of family recipes that my wife talks fondly about.  Recently she was telling me about memories of eating stuffed artichokes at her nunnie's house when she was little.  After seeing the fresh artichokes at the store, I decided that we had to get the family recipe and make these happen.  I ended up making a few small changes, but the general recipe is the same, and they turned out great as a side dish served with pasta.

Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes
(serves 2, scale as needed for more)
2 large globe artichokes (tightly packed leaves, the less brown spots the better)
½ c onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 anchovy fillets, minced
4 tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 lemon
1 c bread crumbs
½ c chopped fresh parsley
2ish c chicken stock
Extra virgin olive oil

Start by sauteeing the onion until translucent in a little bit of olive oil.  Also preheat the oven to 375┬║.

While they are sauteeing, prepare the artichokes by rinsing them out and chopping the top 1" off of each globe.  Trim the sharp spike off of each remaining leaf with a pair of kitchen shears.  Cut the stem off to make it flush with the base of the artichoke.  Spread the leaves by pulling them apart and use a melon baller or a spoon to dig out the choke.  The choke is actually the base of the flower that would bloom if the artichoke were left on the stalk.  It's bad news for people, so by removing it we can dig into the heart of the artichoke with no problems after it's cooked.  Cut the lemon in half.  Fill a bowl with water and squeeze half of the lemon into the water, tossing the whole half in after squeezing.  Add the artichokes and let them sit until they are ready to bake.

Make the stuffing by mixing bread crumbs, anchovies, onions, garlic, Parmesan, and parsley together.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Prepare the artichokes for baking by draining them from the water and stuffing them.  Stuff the leaves with the bread crumb mixture and finish by filling the middle as well.  Drizzle olive oil on top of each artichoke and juice some of the remaining lemon on them as well.  You want to bake them in a dish that is just big enough to hold them.  After they are in the pan, add enough chicken stock to about 1/3 of the way up the sides of the artichokes.  Cover and bake them for approximately 30 minutes.  Remove the cover and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the stuffing has browned.  I grated more Parmesan on top at this point to add more salt, after tasting one of the leaves I felt that it was not salty enough.  Try poking a knife down through the center to the heart, if the knife is easily pushed through the then artichokes are done.  Allow them to cool slightly before serving, and eat them by pulling off the outer leaves and eating the meaty end and the breading.  Enjoy!


  1. my family made these as well, almost exactly the same recipe. We're from naples, and this "stuffing" which we called "the mix" was used in all kinds of applications. Stuffed peppers, stuffed squid, stuffed artichokes, mixed into pasta with shrimp for scampi etc...

  2. I would eat the shit out of some squid stuffed with that. good idea =D

  3. I can't wait to try this one on my "artichoke-skeptical" husband, it sounds fantastic. And cheers to more vegetable variety than the root veg!

  4. I know for sure Nunnie is proud of you Jeremy I have made these also and they are so yummy but they do not quite look like yours