How to Stuff Artichokes

  Stuffed Artichoke

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

Stuffed Artichoke

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

Pancetta Wrapped Asparagus

pancetta wrapped asparagus
I am happy to eat asparagus all year round.  It adds something extravagant to all manner of soups, pastas, salads and sides. Frozen, pickled and canned options work well as an add on for so many of my favorite go to recipes.  Still, there is something special about the spring harvest of local asparagus.  This simple recipe is a celebration of spring's green giant and an easy yet elegant addition to a special meal.

  • 22 medium asparagus spears, ends trimmed, about 1lb
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 cup grated romano cheese
  • coarse sea salt
  • Butchers black pepper
  • 22 thin slices prosciutto, about 8oz


Line a baking sheet and dish with parchment paper.

In the baking dish coat the asparagus with oil and then toss with cheese.  Starting just under the scaled tip of the asparagus, wrap each spear with a slice of prosciutto. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining asparagus.  Keep the asparagus from touching to avoid steaming. 


When Broiling

Heat the oven to broil and arrange a rack about 5 to 6 inches below the heating element. Set a large plate aside.

This recipes is much better when the stalks are crispy.  Broil for 3 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven, and flip the asparagus over. Return the baking sheet to the oven and continue to broil until the asparagus is charred in spots and the prosciutto is crisped and browned, about 3 minutes more.

When Grilling

Prepare a grill for direct-heat cooking over medium/hot charcoal or medium/high for gas.

Oil grill rack, then grill asparagus, uncovered, turning, until pancetta is golden brown in spots and asparagus is crisp-tender, about 6 minutes.

  Pancetta wrapped asparagus

More ways to celebrate spring holidays

Photo Credit: Julie Cecchini

Inspired by Food 52 - Crispy Delicata with currant, fennel and apple relish

Inspired by The Whimpy Vegetarian - Crispy Delicata with currant, fennel and apple relish
As with most of what inspires me on Food 52, I love this recipe for it's simplicity and fresh flavors.  Crafted by TheWimpyVegetarian this was a holiday award winner a few years ago.

The ingredients are easy enough to find, but ones I don't always think of using.  On it's own or paired with pork chops, eggs or rice it it makes an elegant meal.  Looking for something out of the ordinary to go with this year's Turkey?  Look no further.

  • 2 Delicata squash
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1 lime
    • 1/2cup dried currants
    • 1/2crisp apple, peeled, seeded, very small dice (I used Pink Lady)
    • 1fennel bulb, outer layer removed, very small dice
    • 1cup apple cider
    • 1tablespoon Calvados

Slice the ends off of the squash. Slice into 1/2" rings and remove the seeds with a spoon. Reserve the seeds for another use or roast them with some cayenne pepper, salt, and cumin and sprinkle over the finished dish.



More menu masterpieces from TheWimpyVegetarian;

Photo Credit: The Whimpy Vegetarian