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Abruzzese-Style Stuffed Artichokes

Posted by on in Recipes from Abruzzo and Molise

A simple, traditional spring recipe from Abruzzo, Chieti province.

* This recipe is suitable for vegetarians.

 The areas of Cupello, Palmoli and San Salvo along with many other towns in the Chieti province within the Abruzzo region are well known for their tasty artichokes. Locally grown they are harvested from February and are available until the month of May. The most famous place to eat artichokes in Abruzzo is certainly Cupello, in the Chieti province. Cupello has a unique variety of artichokes called Mazzaferrata.

This specific type of artichoke is much tastier than the typically bitter flavour of the other artichoke varieties, the Mazzaferrata are sweet and pulpy. They can be cooked in many different ways, also with pasta or risotto, but the best way to enjoy the Mazzaferrata artichoke is to make it ripieno.

Here below is the traditional recipe for stuffed artichokes – carciofo ripieno.

Ingredients

  • 10 artichokes, mazzaferrata quality is the best for this recipe

  • 250 g of breadcrumbs

  • 6 eggs

  • 100 g of parmesan cheese

  • 100 g of pecorino cheese from abruzzo

  • parsley (a few handfuls)

  • garlic (2 cloves)

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • salt and pepper

Directions

How to prepare the artichokes

  1. Remove all of the external leaves from the artichokes; the external leaves are darker and harder. Remove them all until you reach the internal leaves that are lighter in colour and tender. (Image 1)

  2. Now cut the top off the artichokes in order to remove the hardest part of the leaves. Also remove the external skins of the stems. The stems of the artichokes are very tasty and tender once cooked, therefore do not throw them away. Cut the stems into pieces of 3 to 4 cm long. (Image 2)

  3. With your fingers open the inside of the artichokes to prepare the space for the filling. (Image 3)

  4. Now place the cleaned artichokes and their stems in a bowl with water and a squeezed lemon. The lemon juice will prevent the artichokes from darkening and will reduce their bitterness. (Image 4)

How to prepare the filling

  1. Grate the bread, the parmesan cheese and the pecorino cheese. Mix them all together, add the eggs. Add a handful of parsley and a garlic clove previously chopped (if you don’t like garlic you can avoid using it). Add salt and pepper. (Image 5)

  2. Mix very well to create a mixture similar to that used to make meatballs. (Image 6)

  3. Add a few splashes of extra virgin olive oil. (Image 7)

  4. Rinse the artichokes and dry them very well and start to fill them with the mixture you have previously prepared. (Image 8)

  5. Fill all of the artichokes. (Image 9)

How to cook the stuffed artichokes

  1. Place half a liter of water or more in a large sauce pan with a handful of parsley, a garlic clove (optional), olive oil (three tablespoons) and salt. (Image 10)

  2. Place the artichokes and their stems in the pan, cover it and simmer slowly for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. The water should cover the artichokes by ¾. Prick the artichokes with a fork, if they are tender, it means that they are ready. If they are still hard, leave them to cook for a few minutes longer. (Image 11)

  3. Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. (Image 12)

The stuffed artichokes are ready, the preferred wine to serve with this recipe is a white one like a local Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.

Photo credit: Visit Terre dei Trabocchi