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Roman Braised Artichokes

Roman Braised Artichokes



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Fill a large bowl with cold water and stir in the lemon juice. To prepare the artichokes, carefully remove and discard all of the external hard leaves, then trim the internal leaves. Scoop out and discard the hairy choke in the center of each artichoke using a teaspoon. Put each artichoke in the acidulated water as soon as it is prepared to prevent discoloring.

Remove the artichokes from the acidulated water and stand them upright in a large saucepan. Put a few slices of garlic inside of each one, then tuck the mint leaves and lemon rind among the artichokes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour in the wine, oil, and water, cover, and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer gently, basting the artichokes occasionally and adding more wine or water if necessary, until they are almost tender all the way through, for 30 minutes.

Turn the artichokes on their sides and cook until soft, about 15 more minutes. Serve hot or cold with some juices from the pan spooned over the top.


Whole Artichokes Braised Roman Style

These artichokes are striking. Cooked and served whole, stems still attached, they are entirely edible, as all the tough parts have been removed. The technique for trimming them is simple and should take five minutes per artichoke. Serve these artichokes either as a vegetable side dish or an appetizer.Preparation time: 30 minutes


Carciofi alla Romana (Roman-style Braised Artichokes)

Carciofi alla Romana (Roman-Style Braised Artichokes) are the epitome of exquisiteness. Bold rich flavors coming from a beautifully steamed breadcrumb filled baby artichoke, that leaves nothing but tenderness and succulence on our taste buds!

Carciofi, artichokes, it is what we call them in Italian and it is artichoke season and a plentiful one at that! If you have been following us we have quite a few recipes coming and one special recipe from my father, Stuffed Artichokes di Americo that is already posted. Nicoletta has been posting pictures on social media showing the bountiful harvest in Italy of these beautiful lotus-like vegetables that I would have to say are amazingly delicious, but I am biased because I am a fan!

I have to say that I love working with The Italian Centre Shop. It is always exciting to go into their stores and see what is coming in. I was talking to Ryan (marketing manager ITC) about recipes for this month and telling him I remember seeing the baby artichokes in the produce section, and that I have had a dream if you want to call it that, or maybe a passion to create these artichokes that I have heard so much about from Nicoletta. The excitement was shared and a plan in the works. I even saw these delectable carciofi when we went to this place called Mercato Centrale. A place filled with amazing food places run by well-known chefs. It is truly amazing not only in the food experience but also in the ambiance, as it is set in an old part of the Termini train station in Rome, Italy. The vaulted antique mortar and brick ceiling host a wonderful echo of people enjoying wonderful foods, drink, and great conversation. So, to make a long story short, I saw these little artichokes at one of the vendors there and I was taken by how moist, tender and beautiful they looked, not to mention that rich aroma of olive oil and cooked artichoke had my mouth watering endlessly. Nicoletta told me that her father Franco, my father in law, is well known for his art of cooking artichokes and now I had the resources in the palm of my hand thanks to Franco sharing his recipe.

My job, to develop and hopefully do justice to these baby artichokes or carciofi as we call them in Italian. So, here we go, very simple according to Franco. Some baby artichokes, breadcrumbs, garlic, mint, and to preserve these beauties, lemon. I did want to mention that typically in Rome they have the real deal of artichokes that are big and oh so naturally tender, however, because we are not in Italy, we use the next best thing and I feel blessed that The Italian Centre Shop had these baby artichokes and I know they are going to work just fine. Will they be exactly the same flavor as those in Italy? Not really, because that country has this rich terracotta soil and that enhances the flavor of anything that grows in it, and this I know from true life experience. The ones I bought are grown in California and I am going to put lots of passion and love into the mix, so I know these are going to be spot on in flavor.

Look at these carciofi in the lemon water, they look so peaceful and serene, almost zen-like, preserved in time. Before I put them in that lemon water bath, I cleaned the outer tough dry leaves, cut off the stem and top to get rid of the tips. After that, I spread them open a bit, this will create that cavity I need for the scrumptious breadcrumb and herb filling. TIP: Before adding the filling, remember to remove the choke if your artichokes have it. It is the "beard" the artichokes normally have in the middle.

Before you fill these carciofi you have to drain them to get the water off them, or else the filling will be too soggy and will fall apart. The filling is according to Franco who, I may add, recites beautiful Latin poetry and has written two books, definitely a Renaissance man. I have often thought that I would love to create a fusion of modern percussion in the background to accompany his rhythmic resonance of some extraordinary old latin masters poems. Okay, got a bit sidetracked, poetry and percussion, a sweet weakness of mine!

Let's get back to the Carciofi alla Romana (Roman-Style Braised Artichokes). So Franco says to mix the breadcrumbs with some minced mint, fresh Italian parsley, garlic, and to get it together, some wonderful good quality extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil. A quick mix with a spoon and a test in your hands to see if it is moist enough, if not just add a bit more olive oil until you see the filling come together. Now all you have to do is fill the carciofi and place them top side down in the pan, carefully, of course, this is a very delicate process, with some med to hot heat and olive oil just to crisp the top a bit and enhance the flavor for the braising liquid. Let's talk about this braising liquid, again simple, very much a motto in Italian cooking: some water, evo oil, salt, and pepper, that's it. This goes in after you have sauteed the tops. Leave them upside down and just pour the braising liquid in. I filled it less than halfway up the artichokes and with heat nice and low covered it with a lid. Keep that lid on, we need that steam to stay in. This is going to make these Carciofi alla Romana (Roman-Style Braised Artichokes) so tender and moist, and that liquid is going to be so packed with flavor!

I just love the aroma of cooked artichokes. It is luxuriously rich and robust and has my mouth watering already. I love how the braising liquid has thickened due to some of the breadcrumb mixture seeping in and this is not going to be wasted. It is going to be lovely drizzled on top of these carciofi and scooped with some bread. I can't wait to try this!

Oh wow, that flavor is so deep and rich. The earthiness of the artichoke is subdued by the richness of its oils and the braising liquid. They are so tender and moist. I love the way they just burst in flavor as you bite in and it is an effortless experience, to say the least, as that low heat and steam encapsulated cooking bubble has really worked its magic on the wonderful bulbs of delicious goodness! That braising sauce and its peppery notes just add enough spice and flavor to the mix, still keeping it well in balance. If you are in your local grocery store or if, by chance, you happen to have an Italian store near you, take a gander into the produce aisle and if you see these cute baby artichokes, snap them up and you too can create a beautiful Italian dish as we have done here.

Brush up on your Italian so when your guests are sitting at the table you can serve the first dish announcing, "today we have Carciofi alla Romana (Roman-Style Braised Artichokes)".


Braised Marinated Artichokes

Ingredients

  • 2 large globe artichokes
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sliced shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, about 1 Tbsp
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine (such as a Sauvignon blanc)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves

Method

Prepare a large bowl with cold water. Squeeze half a lemon into the water. Using a serrated knife (bread knife works well for this), cut off the top inch of the artichokes. Squeeze a little lemon over the cut areas to keep the artichokes from turning brown.

Use kitchen shears to snip off the thorny tips of the artichoke leaves.

Use the serrated knife to cut the artichokes into quarters.

Use a metal teaspoon to scrape away the hairy choke above the artichoke heart. Remove the small, papery, purplish leaves close to the choke. Rub the cut areas again with lemon.

Place the quartered artichoke hearts into the bowl of acidulated water as you finish prepping them.

Heat olive oil on medium heat in a thick-bottomed pot that will hold all of the artichokes tightly in a single layer. (Choose a pot with a tight-fitting lid.)

When the oil is hot, add the shallots and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until softened.

Add the garlic and cook an additional minute.

Add the white wine, water, bay leaves, and salt to the pot. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pan by 1/4-inch. If not, add more water until there is. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for a minute.

Place the quartered artichokes, cut side down in a single layer, in the pot. Bring to a boil on high heat.

Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and lower the heat to medium. Simmer for 20 minutes. (If it looks like the pot is at risk of running out of liquid, add more hot water to the pot.)

Then toss with the parsley and mint, turning the artichokes over to coat them with the sauce, cover again, and cook for an additional 5 to 15 minutes, until the leaves are tender and are easy to pull off the artichoke.

Note that older artichokes may take a longer cooking time (and therefore more water/wine in the pot) to get tender.

Let cool to slightly warm or room temperature. Serve with some of the pan juices and shallots from the braising liquid. Especially good if you make a day ahead, giving the cooked artichokes more time to marinate. Just chill, and return to room temperature before serving.


What do you need to make Carciofi alla romana: ingredients and gear

Carciofi alla Romana are a popular dish in origin and do not need any fancy equipment.

The real must have here are:

  • A bowl of water and lemon juice
  • A sharp knife
  • A stewing pot with lid (or anyway a pot you can put on a hob with high enough sides to comfortable hold the artichokes)
  • Roman artichokes (Or globe artichokes)
  • Mentuccia (if you cannot find it, you can use parsley or a mix of parsley and a very small amount of mint)
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Recipe Summary

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mint, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 artichoke hearts

In a bowl, combine parsley, mint, garlic, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Rub artichoke hearts inside and out with herb mixture. Place them stem-side up in a medium pot. Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and enough water to come halfway up the sides of the artichoke hearts.

Place pot on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer until artichokes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining herbs. Cool completely in the cooking liquid.

Divide artichoke hearts onto four plates, and serve at room temperature with some of the liquid spooned over the top.


ARTICHOKES IN THE GARDEN

Years of growing artichokes my my garden led me to share recipes on the blog, such as Roman Style Artichokes with Mint, a sautéed version. Baby Artichokes with Crispy Fennel and Sautéed Artichokes with Pernod. I love all of them but a new recipe always gets me going, I love to grow and expand as a cook. Can you ever have enough recipes with artichokes?


RECIPE

This very popular artichoke dish is easy to prepare, once you have overcome the step of prepping the artichokes. Use the romanesco variety of artichokes if you can find them as they are the preferred variety of artichokes in many Italian dishes due to their superior flavor. Prepping artichokes can take some time, but is very rewarding. Do this, and it’s smooth sailing to artichoke bliss.

Make sure to choose a deep pot that has a base that just fits all the artichokes – you want them snug in order to cook properly.


Lidia’s Italy in America

To clean baby artichokes and prevent them from oxidizing, fill a large bowl with approximately two quarts of cold water, and add the juice of two lemons, plus the squeezed-out lemon halves.

Peel and trim the stem of the first artichoke. Pull off any tough outer leaves and discard. Using a paring knife, trim away any tough parts around the base and the stem of the artichoke. With a serrated knife, cut off the top third of the artichoke and discard.

Combine the artichokes, garlic, lemon zest and juice, mint, parsley, salt, and pepperoncino in a saucepan of the size in which the artichokes will snugly fit in one layer. Nestle the artichokes in the pan with the ingredients, drizzle with the olive oil, and dot with the butter. Pour 3 cups water and the wine into the saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the artichokes are tender all the way through, about 40 minutes.

Uncover the pan, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and simmer until the bread crumbs dissolve and thicken the sauce, just a minute or two.


Artichokes

In my recent posts about our local farmer’s market you have seen photos of the beautiful artichokes that my friend, Tom, at DeNoble’s Farm, brings to the market each Saturday. He grows several varieties including the gorgeous purple Italian that we all love. Last week he brought small, chokeless artichokes that are so delicious when sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with fresh herbs. DeNoble’s farm is located in Tillamook, Oregon, a small central coast town with a very mild climate, fertile soil and high humidity where these thistly globe thrive.

This week I used a recipe that Susan, at Savoring Time in the Kitchen , recently prepared for her gourmet dinner group. Susan wrote that this recipe will be her artichoke recipe of choice from now on, so with a recommendation like that I just had to try it. Outer tough leaves are trimmed away, the choke is removed, and the stem is peeled so what is served is completely edible. The artichokes are then simmered in a white wine based broth that becomes all the sauce these lovelies need. I served the halves at room temperature with slices of toasted baguette spread with herbed goat cheese. I completely agree with Susan’s evaluation of this scrumptious dish. It’s a keeper.

UPDATE: If you aren’t sure how to trim artichokes Susan has an excellent tutorial on her blog that you will want to check out.

  • 6 long-stemmed artichokes
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • 4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mint, leaves only, roughly chopped, 1 tablespoon reserved
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • Coarse sea salt
  1. With a potato peeler or knife, peel dar, bitter outer skin off stems and remove bottom 1" of stem. Remove coarse outer leaves down to softer, more yellow leaves. Remove choke and slice 1" off top of artichoke. Hold in acidulated water or squeeze fresh lemon juice all over the artichokes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the parsley, mint, garlic, salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil. In the cavity of the artichoke from which the choke has been removed, place 1 teaspoon of the herb mixture and rub a little over the top. repeat this procedure with the remaining chokes.
  3. Arrange all chokes end side up in a deep pan that keeps them close together so they don't fall over. Scatter the lemon slices around them, pushing them down around the artichokes. Sprinkle the red pepper flakes over the top. Add the oil, wine and water and a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer over medium low het on the stovetop for about 30-40 minutes or until just tender. Refrigerate until ready to use and then bring to room temperature.
  4. Remove lemon slices and continue to cook juices until reduced by half. Serve as a sauce, drizzled over artichokes.
  5. When ready to serve, bring artichokes to room temperature. Slice in half and garnish with a sprinkle of sea salt, a drizzle of the cooking sauce, and a little reserved chopped mint.

I’m joining Mary and Little Red House for this week’s Mosaic Monday.


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