Friday, May 9

I Heart Mom's Stuffed Artichokes



You asked for it, and here it is: The recipe for my mom's stuffed artichokes.

I could tell you all about artichokes: how they date to antiquity, how they're actually edible flower buds, and how the heart (the most delectable part) is the caviar of vegetables. But you can read what I wrote here for that.

Today I want to focus on my mom's stuffed artichokes. I've been making stuffed artichokes with my mom since I was about 6 years old. When my hands were still too small to tackle the prickly, cactus-like leaves of the artichoke, I was in charge of making the stuffing. There was something indescribably satisfying about it: first I wet the stale Italian bread and squished in between my fingers, then I grated lots of cheese and added a slew of black olives (which, by the way, made lovely finger extensions). It gave "playing with your food" a whole new perspective.

When I got a bit older, I learned how to properly clean an artichoke (which is no easy task). Maybe that's why I appreciate them so much today.

Ironically, my mom never ate her stuffed artichokes. She always made them for my dad and me. After I moved away from Rhode Island, I didn't make artichokes for a long time. They'll never be as good as Mom's, I'd say. Then one spring day I asked my dad if Mom had made any stuffed artichokes lately. He lamented, "she doesn't like making them now that you're not home to have them." So strangely none of us was making or eating artichokes anymore.

This changed one Sunday after we moved to California, where virtually 100% of US artichokes are grown, including colossal Big Hearts. Upon seeing them for the first time, I audibly gasped. They were enormous-- about 6 inches across with 6-8-inch- long stems. I bought two. My mom talked me through the process of making them (there was never a recipe). They were good (not as good as Mom's), but good.

big heart and globe artichokes
Big Heart artichoke at left and Globe artichoke at right

I've gotten much better at cooking artichokes over the last 5 years, and when my parents visited a couple of months ago, I surprised my dad with the BIGGEST Big Heart artichoke I have ever seen. It weighed nearly 3 pounds! The only problem was it took 2 hours to cook. Remember, the bigger the artichoke, the longer the cooking time. And please don't believe people who say big artichokes have no flavor. They do.

So next time you're at the market, pick up a couple of artichokes, and follow my Artichokes 101 guide for cleaning and cooking them. Then make my mom's stuffed artichokes. You won't be disappointed.

I'm sending my stuffed artichoke to Laurie of Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska and Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen's for this week's round of WHB hosted by Laurie. I mean, really, it's just too big for one person to eat.

Speaking of Mom and Rhode Island, have you met Mary of Sweet Mary? I discovered her blog when I peered into her kitchen pantry a few weeks ago at Lydia's; we have become regular visitors since. Mary lives in Rhode Island and graciously interviewed me for her blog. Why not say "hi" to Mary and check out her sweet recipes like Dad's Favorite Italian Cake, or her hilariously named I Hate Winter Where the Hell is Spring Pie. With a name like that, it's gotta be "wickit awesome!"'

A colossal stuffed Big Heart artichoke

Italian Stuffed Globe Artichokes

Makes 2
Print recipe only here.

You could stuff just the cavity of the artichoke, but where's the fun it that? Stuffing the leaves makes a more impressive presentation and makes it more fun to share (if you want to).



2 globe artichokes, about 1 pound each
2 trimmed, peeled, and diced artichoke stems
1 lemon, cut in half (for rubbing the artichoke)
Stuffing:
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 loaf stale Italian bread, torn into small pieces
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley
1 tablespoon fresh minced basil
1/4 cup grated Reggiano-Parmigiano cheese
1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts
salt, to taste
For the cooking pot:
1 lemon, sliced (for cooking)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons

To make the stuffing, cut stale bread into a few thick slices and moisten with warm water. Wet the bread just enough to soften it but not soak it. If it's too wet, then just squeeze it dry with your hands. Tear the bread into small pieces (about 1/2-inch), and place in a large bowl.

Meanwhile place an artichoke on a cutting board and cut off the stem. Using a sharp knife, remove the fibrous outer part of the stem and discard. Cut the remaining center of the stem into long, thin strips, then dice. Place in a small skillet with 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat, for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add to the bowl of bread. Add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, chopped olives, crushed red pepper flakes, parsley, basil, and cheese and mix well.

To toast the pine nuts, place in a small dry skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute, or until golden brown. Shake the pan handle gently to ensure even toasting. Add to the bowl of bread and season generously with salt. Mix the stuffing well with your hands, breaking up any large pieces of bread. If it seems too dry or crumbly, add a little more olive oil or water; if it's too moist, add a bit more bread. I usually taste it at this point and adjust the seasonings as necessary. (If making the stuffing ahead, then place in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator up to 3 days).

To clean the artichokes, cut off the stem from 1 artichoke (which you’ve already done for the stuffing) and set aside. Cut off the top ½ inch the artichoke and discard. Using a pair of kitchen shears, trim off the tips of the remaining leaves. Rub the leaves all over with a lemon half.

Using your thumbs, gently separate the leaves (the fresher the artichoke, the tighter the leaves). Pull out the purple tipped leaves from the center and several surrounding yellow leaves until you reach the fuzzy choke. Using a small spoon, scoop out the choke until no fuzzy remnants remain. Then squeeze some lemon juice inside the cavity to keep it from oxidizing, or turning brown. Repeat with second artichoke.

To stuff the artichokes, begin by placing 2-3 tablespoonfuls of stuffing into the cavity of each artichoke to prevent the leaves from closing up over it. Then using your hands, fill each leaf with about 1/2-1 teaspoon full of stuffing, starting at the outermost leaves and working your way toward the center. Try not to over stuff the leaves early on, in case you run out of stuffing by the time you get to the second artichoke! You can always go back and add more stuffing if you’d like.

To cook the artichokes, use a large deep sauce pan and fill it with 3 inches of water. Add a whole sliced lemon and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the water. Place stuffed artichokes in the pan close together so they don’t tip over. Drizzle each with one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Cover tightly with a lid and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to a simmer, keeping the pan only partially covered, and cook for 45-60 minutes, or until leaves are tender.
To check for doneness, try pulling a leaf from the artichoke, it should come out easily; too much tugging means it needs to cook more. You can also get a long, think knife and insert it into the center of the artichoke; it should easily go through to the heart. Lift the knife straight out so you don’t cut the heart.

Transfer cooked artichokes to a large plate or shallow bowl and let cool for 5 minutes before eating. They can also be kept warm by loosely covering with foil and eating within 15- 20 minutes.

You might also like these other Mom-inspired dishes:
Pizza Chena (also called Pizza Gaina) a colossal Italian meat and cheese pie



Savory Sausage and Fennel Galette





Hello Dolly Cookie Bars




Italian Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies




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55 comments:

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Everything and I mean Everything is Big in this one! 3 pound artichoke! Flavor to beat the band! Look so good. Interesting how somethings can drop out and back onto our tables! This is really lovely Susan. And always good family story stuff.

Swati: Sugarcraft India said...

Another beautiful post Susan..The artichokes look very very tempting ..wish we could get them in India!!

Carmen said...

thanks for your recipe
i like it
brava

RecipeGirl said...

My mother was visiting recently and I was telling her about your stuffed artichokes (and your artichoke post.) We've only ever eaten them steamed with just a little mayo for dipping. Never any different. I'm going to make these gorgeous creations for her this summer when we're together again. It's time we tried something new!

linda said...

Indeed impressive! Never had a stuffed one before. I always make them the way my dad makes them. With a dip made of red wine vinegar, olive oil, chopped parsley, finely chopped red onion and salt and pepper. Somehow I always thought that was the only way for me but now that I see your stuffed artichoke I'm starting to doubt it ;)

Deborah Dowd said...

Susan,these look so awesome!As much as I love artichokes, I have never tried stuffing them. Your post has inspired me!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

That's one incredible stuffed artichoke! Back here in Rhode Island, I never see artichokes that size. But your mother's stuffing looks delicious and I'll try to cram it into the piddly little artichokes we get in the markets here.

Vicki said...

That looks so tasty!
This may be a dumb question - how do you keep the stuffing from floating away in 3" of water?

Manggy said...

Whoa!! How many people does one artichoke feed? It looks gigantic! I wonder if I can stuff a canned artichoke (insert mixture of laughter and crying here). It looks absolutely delicious!

Heather said...

wow! those look delicious and the pictures are beautiful. I have actually never made a stuffed artichoke, although I certainly love eating them :) I'm excited to give this a try :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That's a unique and original way of stuffing artichokes! I bet they taste delicious! Yummy!

Cheers,

Rosa

nipsum said...

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I hope to see blog.
Please link to this site.

Peter M said...

They are gorgeous and yes, spectacular. I would sooo serve this at a formal dinner just to see the uptight ones fumble to avoid eating it with their hands!

Dhanggit said...

there is no other best way to celebrate Mother's Day but to honour them with the wonderful dishes they made for us all these years. Without a doubt, this hearty stuffed artichokes of your mom is fantastic!! without forgetting your wonderful photos!! Happy Mother's Day to your Mom and big thanks to her for this fabulous recipe!!

Lore said...

I heart your mom's stuffed artichokes too!!! I would so love to try this recipe but I cannot find fresh artichokes, around here they all look rather withered. Manggy let's make a club and start lobbying today! :)

Lina said...

that looks amazing! but how do you eat it?

Lina said...

that looks amazing! but how do you eat it?

familiabencomo said...

Holy-moly - that's a big-un! I love it that you have this history of cooking with your mother. Too bad she's so far away. You have done it again! I'm going to go find the biggest artichokes & make this WITH my daughter. Honestly, I love anything that takes hours to bake - it's the best "down" time out there because of the promise of something amazing to come.

xoxox Amy

P.S. Have a great sunny weekend down in SoCal!

katiez said...

I can see how it could be possible to share.... but, why would I want to?
They look gorgeous! We don't get such large beauties here and I have never stuffed one... Can't seem to get past the dipping thing (I do make a yogurt dip with it wonderful...)
I may try... next year. Our season is done already....sob!

Laurie Constantino said...

Susan, your mom is a smart woman - these are gorgeous and are making my mouth really water. If we don't go out, I'm making these tonight! Thanks for entering them in Weekend Herb Blogging.

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Artichokes are great but unfortunately a bit rare around here. What a shame!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Susan, This is pure heaven!!! Truely a thing of beauty! (can you tell I love artichokes?) nice touch with the kalamata olives! Just by looking at this I can tell you made your Mama proud, what a nice Mothers Day gift to her. :)

Cakelaw said...

Oh wow - these look and sound wonderful. I am still kinda scared of the artichoke - we are still not acquainted, but this recipe would be a great place to start.

Veron said...

Very impressive and beautiful. Thank you for the inspiration!

Arfi Binsted said...

wow... big meals in one! i love arthichoke! it's rarely able to be found in here where i live. usually it comes in the can. lucky you, susan!

Gattina said...

Susan, I am still in awe after seeing these colossal artichokes and your stunning work! I still regard cleaning artichokes as a lot of work, so really admire how patient the Europeans are, or now Califorian as well... but yours is definitely a work of art!

nicisme said...

That first photo is fantastic Susan, makes me want to run to the shops and buy an artichoke, only ours are so much smaller - I've never seen ones that big. I'm saving this recipe - thanks!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Can I borrow your mum, please? ;-)

Holler said...

Wow, I have never seen anyhting quite like that before! You and your mum must have a lot of patience :)

Passionate baker...& beyond said...

WOW Susan...is that big & is that beautifully done or what!! Love the tale behind the heart veggie! Of course artichokes are unheard of here, but can spend time drooling over your post! Must have been hard work, & you've done your sweet Mom proud...I rememeber her Hello Dolly Christmas bars at your Xmas Cookies event! Am sure she's having a GREAT Mother's Day!!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I tell you, reading your blog is almost like sitting in my grandmother's "summer kitchen", watching her cook all of those wonderful Italian dishes!

She used to make these artichokes for me all the time. I loved them, and I still do. I haven't had any since I lost her. I think it's time to make some for myself!

Maryann said...

There ya go! Showing off those gorgeous artichokes again! ;)

farida said...

These look so delicious! I once made stewed artichoke from an Italian cookbook I have and they turned out nicely. they are a little tricky to eat:) at least that's what my family thinks:) but still delicoius! i should try your recipe too! Thank you for sharing with us!

PS: You have an award from me. Check our my blog.

Bellini Valli said...

I love all the mom inspired dishes for Mothers Day Susan. Happy Mothers Day:D

Flanboyant Eats said...

lovely, lovely. i forget how good artichokes are. I'd stuff with cuban style beef we call picadillo... yum!

Lisa said...

Artichokes are not something I cook with, but now I am inspired to try them. Thanks Susan!

Melody Polakow said...

Gorgeous!

culinography said...

Holy cow, this looks absolutely phenomenal!

bazu said...

I have GOT to make this. Come on, artichokes!

Nan said...

If we get artichokes from our CSA (God help us if we don't), I'm totally making this because it looks AMAZING. Thanks Susan's mom!

Heather said...

Argh. I was all excited to give this recipe a go tonight. When I was in Sicily, I used to get this stuffed artichoke a lot like yours, except it had no olives, and had fresh fennel and bits of hot sausage. I was pretty sure I could figure that out... and bought myself an artichoke. It looked good according to all your standards, but was all brown and sorta rotten inside. It also had no purple flowers (I don't know if that means it was bad). The fuzz was really hard to get out, but underneath was all brown and icky. Had to let it go :( I am gonna try again when artichokes are in season... since I'm on the east coast maybe the quality isn't as good. When's in season? Sorry for the rambley post...

Sig said...

I love the taste of artichokes, but they scare me a bit... :) So I eat them only at the restaurants.... thanks for the 101 and the detailed instructions Susan, one of these days I might just be brave enough... Your stuffed artichokes looks perfect! Happy mother's day to your mom...

tammy said...

Two hours? Whoa. I was a *little* off. That stuffing really does look fabulous. I'll try it as a nice variation from my grandmother's.

NĂºria said...

Wow, Susan! I would love to try one of these Giant Artichokes!!!
When I do mine (normal size) I usually eat 4 to 5, the rest of the family eats a maximum of 3 each... but I can't help it, I love them!!! If I ever travel to California again, I'll try these ones :D

Mansi Desai said...

I am not an artichoke person, but serve me that and I'll gobble it up alright!:) looks beautiful Susan!:)

Cris said...

Wow... what a huge artichoke and it looks terribly good! I don't think I can get them this big here either.

Kalyn said...

Oh I would love to get some of those huge artichokes. My mom always made artichokes, not stuffed just steamed with a mayo-based dipping sauce. I gobbled them up from an early age and some of my sibs never did learn to like them. Your mom's recipe sounds just fabulous!

fmlyoung said...

Wow, this looks amazing, so glad I stumbled upon it! Very impressive for a dinner party!

rainbowbrown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rainbowbrown said...

My, these look so good. Thanks for sharing your mother's dish. I'm a big artichoke fan and I will most definitely make these.

Joy the Baker said...

Bless you. God bless you for this post. It looks AMAZING! I can't tell you... you just totally made my week. Amazing. I love the photos too.

Julie said...

I'm catching up on back posts and I just had to comment on this one. Artichokes are a huge favorite of mine and I have had them many ways but never stuffed. I need to remedy this! I also want you to know that I found big heart artichokes this past weekend which I'd never heard of 'til I read about them in one of your recent posts. They were wonderful! (And on sale -- how great is that?)

burcu said...

I admit that I have been coming back to your blog just to look at this beautiful artichoke. It's mesmerizing and also inspiring. In Turkey we stuff artichokes the same way with different stuffing, but I really like your bread stuffing. I will have to come back a copule of mroe times to get myself try it. Great post.

Jaime said...

wow, so beautiful! but way too complex for me ;)

Julia said...

I've been looking for a stuffed artichoke recipe, and this one looks perfect! I just got two artichokes in my produce delivery box this week, and I can't wait to try this out.

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