Thursday, July 2, 2015

Stuffed Artichokes



Italian Stuffed Artichokes!
 
We like ours with marinara sauce, but plain ones are just as good!
My favorite way to eat vegetables...stuffed with yummy goodness!   This dish, alone, could convince me to become a vegetarian! 

You can make this a main dish by adding cooked, loose sausage or seasoned, cooked ground beef.  Mint, anchovies, toasted pine nuts and crushed red pepper are just a few other seasonings that have also been used in this filling.   Another recipe you can make your own, by adding your favorites!

I would eat these every day, if it weren't for the price of artichokes.  But, if you're like me, look for them on sale...get them right away.  Don't want to make these yet?  No problem!   Just freeze them after boiling, they'll keep for a few months and will save you some steps when you do make them! 

Ingredients:

4-6 medium sized artichokes
1 lb. plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (or more, if you like cheese)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil (about 1/4 cup...this is an approximate)


Pretty, isn't it?

Cut artichoke stem so that it stands flat. Trim the pointy tips off of all the leaves. (If you like, peel the stem and add it to the pan, it's edible and very good.)

Place in large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until artichoke is tender.  To test the tenderness, stick a butter knife or the tines of fork into the stem.  If it slides in easily, the artichoke is done.  Reserve some of the water to add to sauce.

In a large bowl combine bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic, and pepper.
Mix well; slowly add the oil till the crumb mixture is moistened enough to stick together.  You may need to adjust the amount of oil depending on the type and amount of bread crumbs used.  (You want the mixture to stick together or it will be too dry.  Sometimes I'll add a little of the artichoke water.)

Using a teaspoon or your fingers, tug each leaf outward a little to make room for the stuffing.   Generously stuff some filling in between all of the leaves, starting at the bottom and working around to the top, including the center.  (I do this in a bowl to catch any filling that might fall as you stuff them.)


Now you can add sauce or a little olive oil over the top, sprinkle with Parmesan and bake.

Cover bottom of baking pan with sauce mixed with a little reserved artichoke water to about 1/2 inch.  Place stuffed artichokes into a large baking pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until the filling is golden brown.
Drizzle tops with olive oil and/or tomato sauce.  Sprinkle with grated cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake at 375'F. for approximately 1 hour (depending on the size of your artichokes) or until leaves pull out easily. 
Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.


Now, how do you eat this thing?
Pull out a leaf, and with your bottom teeth scrape the filling and meat of the leaf into your mouth.
Once you've eaten all the outer leaves...pull out the middle section from the bottom.  Now spoon out fuzzy center at base; discard.   The bottom or "heart" of the artichoke is both edible and delicious!
We've never used utensils...just fingers (best tools of the kitchen)!   Yes, it's messy, but so worth it...just have lots of napkins on hand! 
Here's a visual I found on the Food Network website!





"You are the light of the world; A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven." ~Matthew 5:14,16

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