On a veranda in the tiny walled hill town of Ceri, I had my first stuffed artichoke. While my companion enjoyed a side of beef, I savored the complexity of an artichoke filled with cheese and spices. While he might have been ready to share a bite of his, I wasn't. As a result, I have made up for my selfishness many times over. This dish is a symphony of flavor and perfect for company or the main course on a busy weeknight. I prepare them ahead of time and heat them up when it is time to enjoy. This is how to do it.
- 5 whole artichokes
- 1 tbsp Olio do Panne
- 4 oz provolone cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
- 1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
- 1 small stalk celery, finely chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 (2 oz) cans anchovy fillets, chopped
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil, or as needed
- 1 tsp Rosemary, Hot Pepper & Garlic Vinegar
Prepare the artichokes by slicing off the bottom of the stems and trimming the tips of the leaves. It is easiest to use scissors for the leaves. Tear off the small leaves around the base and discard. Place the artichokes into a large pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Place a dinner plate on top of them to keep the artichokes from floating out of the water. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Boil for10 to 15 minutes, or until some of the leaves are floating in the water; drain and cool. In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Olio do Panne, cheese, olives, parsley, garlic, celery and bell pepper. In a small bowl, stir together the Rosemary, Hot Pepper & Garlic Vinegar, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil; stir into the breadcrumb mixture.
Tear off one large square of aluminum foil for each artichoke. Place an artichoke in the center of a square and tuck about 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture under each leaf. Bring the foil up around the artichoke leaving the top open. Place a wire rack or steamer insert into the bottom of the large pot. Fill with about 3 inches of fresh water, or so that the artichokes remain above water level. Set artichokes in the pot upright and bring to a boil. Cover and let artichokes steam for about 3 hours. Remove from the pot and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
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Photo Credit: Julie Cecchini