If you ask anyone who has known me for awhile artichokes are one of my all time favorite foods. The addition of the word artichoke to a recipe is enough to draw me in to read it or want to order it if it is on a menu. My absolute favorite way to prepare and eat artichokes however is stuffed, just like my Italian Grandma used to make me.
This was always ones of those special dishes that made her kitchen feel like love to me, Grandma knew it was my favorite and made it all the time (I was spoiled). This was also one of the first things I remember learning how to make with her when I was so small I had to pull up a kitchen chair to the counter just to see what she was doing. The smell takes me back almost 30 years every time I make them and I feel like I still have a piece of her still with me.
Be prepared to be hungry the entire time these are cooking, the smell of the filling alone is enough to make you drool. I mean how can you go wrong with shallots, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley and Parmesan cheese (insert drooling emoji here). There are only a few things I do a little differently then my Grandma taught me; I skip wearing the house coat and stained apron, I add cut lemons to the cooking water, and I grate shallots into the breadcrumb mixture. She probably would forgive the apron and the shallots but the lemons she may have thought was a little strange. Don’t let that stop you though the addition of the acidity in the water does something special that I personally love!
Enough explaining and onto the recipe because this is something you HAVE TO try if you have never had it and think you like artichokes! There is absolutely no artichoke heart that tastes as good as the one cooked inside a stuffed artichoke that you have to excavate yourself, it is a treasure.
-3 lemons halved and seeded
-1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
-4 cloves of garlic
-1 Shallot (grated)
-2 tsp parsley
-salt and pepper to taste (I go light on the salt because of the cheese but heavy on the pepper)
Slice the stem off the artichoke so that it has a flat base to cook on but keep the stem they are delicious boiled in the cooking water once peeled. Lie the artichoke on it’s side and cut straight down removing the point and creating a flat top. Using kitchen scissors cut the pointed tip off all of the leaves moving around each artichoke. (Grandma tip) Slam the artichoke on a hard surface where the stem was and then separate the leaves as much as possible to make room for that stuffing.
Prepare your filling, in a bowl mix breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley salt and pepper. Using a garlic press mince your garlic over the breadcrumb mixture so that you get the liquid as well as the cloves into the crumbs. Perform the same step with the shallots grating them over the bowl as well.
Using your hands gently fill the leaves of the artichokes with this mixture. Once filled place the artichokes standing up in a pot and add the lemons, then add water until it comes about an inch up on the artichokes and place on your stove top. I cook mine in a Dutch oven because I like the way the steam cooks the artichokes. Cook time ranges from 30-45 mins depending on the size of your artichoke. Make sure you check it halfway through to ensure that there is enough water in the pot. Artichokes are done with a leaf pulls away easily without resistance.