An old family favorite!
Prep time: 30 min.
Cook time: 1 hr.
Yield: 2 servings
Stuffed Artichoke Ingredients:
- 2 Artichokes (Try to get them as good looking as you can)
- 1 loaf of Italian bread (If you can’t find a loaf of Italian bread, then French bread will do as well, but just don’t tell anyone it’s French bread, maybe they won’t notice 😉 Important note:
- You will need to cut about 8 slices of bread a day ahead of time and put them in the freezer. You will need frozen bread slices when you make your stuffing.
- Fresh Parsley (This is important!! It MUST be fresh parsley!)
- Olive oil (Extra virgin)
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Some nice red wine (I suggest my favorite Italian red wine to go with this special treat! Villa Pozzi Nero D’Avola Sicilia Cabernet Sauvignon. A wonderful red wine from Sicily, Italy! You can get this wine and a review here.)
See below for VERY detailed recipe instructions
Wash your artichokes. While you are washing the artichokes be sure to pry open all the outside leaves so they become a little bit more open. Remember, your are going to try and stuff each leaf with yummy stuffing, so you will need some room for this. So gently pull each leaf away from the artichoke to open them up a bit. Then you will need to have a nice cutting knife and a pair of scissors ready to work with.
Cut off about 1/4″ of the top of the artichoke. Then cut off the bottom stem very close to the bottom leaves, creating a flat surface for the Artichokes to sit upright on. Then with the scissors, snip off the tops of each leaf. Slowly working your way around the entire Artichoke top to bottom, make it pretty, take your time with this and think of it as art. Presentation is important. When food “looks” and tastes good you have a winning combination! I have placed a few photos below to better explain the above.
At this point you will want to steam the artichokes for about 15 minutes. Be sure to use a large pot for this but not a tall one. (This is very important, I used my large “tall” sauce pot for steaming these once and they were not cooked all the way because the space for the steam was too large. Make sure you have a short pot so all the steam is close to the artichokes). The pot should be just slightly taller than the artichokes when sitting in the pan. I use a stainless steel expandable vegetable steamer like this one here. You place the strainer in the bottom of the pan. Then add water in the bottom of a pan with water in the pan filled up enough where it’s just touching the bottom of the steamer. Bring the water to a boil, place the artichokes on the steamer, cover the pan and steam for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes of steaming the artichokes, take them out of the pot and set them on a plate to cool. This pre-steaming helps the leaves open up a bit and also helps cook the inside of the leaves. There is a meaty part to each leaf that you are going to eat when this is finished. If this part is not cooked all the way through it’s hard to get the yummy meaty part of the leaf off because it’s not tender enough.
Now, while the artichoke is cooling off you will make your stuffing.
Next (The stuffing)
To make the stuffing you’re going to need… oh… about a hand-full of fresh parsley. (This is a handful prior to chopping), 1/3 cup of Parmesan Cheese, 8 frozen slices or so of Italian bread (This can vary depending on the size of the loaf of Italian bread you made the slices from) and black pepper.
OK, let’s start with the frozen Italian bread slices. Keep the bread you are not using in the freezer because it thaws out very quickly. Get a grater and grate the frozen bread into a large bowl. I use the next to smallest holes on the grater for this. You need to be quick, the bread really thaws out fast. If it gets too soft while you’re grating, roll it up into a tight ball and try to grate some more. Repeat this for all the slices of frozen bread until you have a nice bowl of fresh grated bread crumbs. (You should end up with about 1 cup of bread crumbs for each artichoke.) You can also put fresh bread in a blender to get these bread crumbs as well, but I like to do it the way grandma did 🙂 If you try the blender method, you need to use a wooden spoon to help push the bread back on the blades of the blender, but only push the bread down while the blender is off, so you keep turning the blender on and off in chop mode. .. Well, you’ll figure it out I’m sure.
Chop up the fresh parsley as fine as you can and add that to the bowl. Add some fresh ground black pepper. Add 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese into the bowl. Mix well.
It’s time to start stuffing the artichokes. Your artichokes should be cooled off now. Once again work with the leaves trying to pull them away from the center of the artichokes so there is room for the stuffing. Work your way around the artichoke and stuff each leaf with the stuffing mix you just made. Take your time and make sure everything looks nice and pretty. You should use about 1 cup or so of stuffing for each artichoke.
After you have stuffed each artichoke and have tried your best to create a work of art, you will then need to pour olive oil over each stuffed leaf prying open the leaves a bit to get some of the olive oil down deep into the bottom of the leaves. Don’t over do it, let the olive oil fall on the stuffing in drops. You don’t want to soak the stuffing.
You will want to flavor your olive oil with fresh garlic, very important. To do this, heat up your olive oil in a small pan. Finely chop about 2 large cloves of garlic and heat up the chopped garlic with the oil. Heat the oil with the garlic until you start to get small bubbles around each small piece of garlic. If you like a little spicy kick in your food then I suggest putting in some red pepper flakes and about 2 tsp. of Jalapeno juice in the oil while your heating it up, I usually take this juice right out of a jar of sliced Jalapeno’s). Then turn off the heat and let the oil sit for a few minutes. For extra flavor, you could also throw in a bit of sweet basil with the oil while your heating it up. After it cools a bit, use the oil with the garlic pieces to pour onto your stuffing as described above. (See important note below in regards to the olive oil).
On the left here is what your Artichoke should look like after you have stuffed it and carefully poured oil over each stuffed leaf area. Pour some on the top as well. When you place the artichokes in the pot for steaming you will pour more olive oil over the top and over the leaves again. That’s how Mama did it so it must be done this way 🙂 OK, at this point you are ready to steam your stuffed artichokes. So you will do this in the same manner that you steamed the Artichokes in the beginning. Place them on the steamer in the pot, cover pot and steam for 45 minutes.
When they are done, just take them from the pot and put them right onto a nice shallow bowl and serve 🙂
There is a whole process to eating these things of which you will get a better idea of by going through the photos.
You can also just steam the artichokes with no stuffing at all. If you prepare the artichokes without the stuffing you will want to steam them with fresh chopped garlic sprinkled on the top as well as a pat of butter. You you will also need a small bowl of melted butter to dip the leaves into when you eat them.
That’s it! You’re done….. Easy as Pie!
Stuffed Artichoke Recipe Photo Gallery