Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pecorino & pine nut stuffed artichokes

These stuffed artichokes are a special treat in my family. I think they are a lovey thing to serve when you have friends or family over because who doesn't find an artichoke to be delicious and fun to share and eat?!  I love a good interactive food.  These would be a gorgeous & impressive starter to a Thanksgiving feast.

If you want to simplify things, you can just follow the recipe until the artichokes are steamed, serve with some melted butter & call it a day.  But if you have a little extra time, I highly recommend going all the way with the stuffing - it's a whole new level of deliciousness.

Serves 8

4 artichokes
2 c. water
1/2 c. white wine
2 bay leaves
1 lemon - sliced
4 cloves garlic - smashed
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt

1 T. olive oil
1/2 c. onion - finely chopped
3 cloves garlic - finely chopped
2 T. butter
1 c. fresh, soft bread crumbs
2 T. chopped fresh basil
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
zest of one lemon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. grated Pecorino
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts
lemon juice, olive oil to drizzle

Cut the stems from artichokes so they can sit flat.  Using a serrated knife, cut off the top 1/4 of the artichoke flower (usually about an inch).  Pull off the bottom layers of tough, outer leaves, and trim the thorns of remaining leaves with kitchen shears.

Heat the water, wine, bay leaves, lemon slices, smashed garlic, olive oil and salt in a large pot with a lid to a boil.  Add artichokes in a single layer, turn heat down to a simmer and cover.  Steam about 30 minutes until tender.  Remove from pot with tongs and allow to cool until you can handle them - about 15 minutes.

While artichoke are cooling, you can assemble your stuffing.  Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until translucent, stirring frequently - about 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic and cook one minute.  Remove from skillet and place in a medium bowl.  Wipe skillet clean.

In the same skillet, melt 2 T. butter over medium heat.  Add bread crumbs and toast until golden brown, stirring occasionally - about 5 minutes.  Add to bowl with onion & garlic.  Add the chopped basil & parsley, lemon zest, salt, Pecorino and toasted pine nuts and stir to combine.

Remove the center, inner leaves and choke (the fuzzy, hairy bits) of the artichoke.  I use a small spoon with sharp edge to carefully scrape the choke out.  Place 1 T. of filling in the center of each artichoke.  Gently spread the artichoke leaves apart and divide the remaining filling between them.  Place in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, drizzle with fresh lemon juice & a little more olive oil and serve.

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