Venetian Dishes

Stuffed Artichockes

Ingredients
  • 6 artichokes
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 thick slice of rustic bread
  • Milk, about 100ml
  • 1 handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan
  • 1 clove of garlic, to taste
  • salt
  • Abundant freshly ground pepper
  • 300 gr minced meat
  • 1 egg
  • Grated untreated half orange peel
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Pine nuts
  • Half orange peel and juice
  • Portions:
  • 3 people
  • Time:
  • 2 hours
  • Difficulty:
  • medium
My relationship with artichokes has always been detached: I like them, but I have never ventured too much in cooking and using them continuously in my kitchen.
I see great risotto with artichokes, soft and inviting, pleasantly on the wave: I think of the time it takes to clean the artichokes and I don’t feel the urge… In fact, honestly, I think that sometimes someone uses frozen ones, selling them as fresh.
My mom has always prepared them "in tecia": only the bottoms, thoroughly cleaned to the point of leaving only the bare, round flesh, without the covering of external leaves, cooked for a long time in a pan with olive oil, a little bit of garlic and parsley.
Always relegated as a side dish, never as ingredients of other recipes.
I have never been able to cook them well ... the most tender outer leaves, those that are left when cleaned, never cooked completely and I found myself with stringy leaves ... I tried several times then I gave up the challenge.

This year, however, I decided to try again: I studied a little here and there, I put all my efforts into it and ... I also stuffed them.
I have found that a boiling time softens even the most calloused fibers, and now I will never abandon this method again. First a quick boil and then off with the recipe I want to prepare, sure that no hard parts will remain.

I filled the artichokes with a meat mixture similar to that of meatballs, but fragrant with orange, pepper and parsley. I also wet them a little with orange juice, I find that a touch of sour could compensates that bitter point of the artichoke. They are delicious, soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
Steps
First of all, carefully clean the artichokes, removing all the hard external leaves, removing the internal beard and cutting the stems at the base. Slightly spread the leaves of the artichokes: as you prepare them, put them in a bowl full of water with the lemon juice, to prevent them from turning black (pass the squeezed lemon on your fingers!!)

Place a large pot full of water on the fire and when it boils dip the artichokes, cook them for 10/15 minutes then drain them and let them cool a little, so you can handle them without burning yourself. In the meantime, soak the chopped bread in milk.

Prepare the filling by mixing the soaked and squeezed bread, chopped parsley, parmesan, garlic (preferably squeezed), salt and black pepper, meat, egg and grated orange peel in a bowl. If you prefer, do not put the garlic in the filling but only in the pan in which you will cook the artichokes, to flavor them in a lighter way.

Take an artichoke, salt inside and fill it with the mixture. Put all the artichokes in order in a pan that goes both on the fire and in the oven, with a finger of oil on the bottom.
Pour in half a glass of water, cover with a lid, and put the pan on medium heat for 35/40 minutes.
When the water has dried, wet the artichokes with the orange juice, sprinkle with pine nuts and, if you want, with another bit of grated parmesan and put in the oven at 180 degrees for another 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.
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Stuffed Artichockes