STUFFED ARTICHOKES, ITALIAN STYLE
4 C plain breadcrumbs (make your own from a 2 day old baguette)
4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 C Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated (do not buy pre-grated)
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil (approximate)
2 lemons: (1 lemon, sliced for the boiling water and 1 lemon, wedges for garnish)
Fill a large pot with a steamer with approximately 2 to 3 inches of water, add several round slices of lemon to the water, below the steam basket; (save 4 round slices of lemon for the tops of the artichokes.)
Make your breadcrumbs from the baguette in the food processor, measure 4 cups and place in a large bowl. Place pieces of the Pecorino Romano in the food processor and pulse, add 2 cups of the cheese into the breadcrumb mixture. Add the garlic powder, salt and pepper into the bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Lay each artichoke down on it’s side and with a serrated knife, cut about an inch off the top and cut the stem off at the base, so that they are flat on both sides.
Cut each leaf off at the tip, going around the artichoke (this cuts off the pinchers). Now take each artichoke and slam it down (top side down) on a cutting board or counter, give it a good slam at least 3 or 4 times. Also, go around and pull open the leaves. Pull a few of the leaves in the inside of the choke out and discard. Wash them under cold water, then turn them upside down to drain for a minute or two.
Turn you pot of water on the stove to High-Heat!
Using a teaspoon, spoon a scoop of breadcrumb mixture into each leaf, starting at the base and working your way to the top. Try to get to the bottom of each leaf. Go around and around until each artichoke is full. You’ll probably have some breadcrumb mixture leftover, but more is always better than not enough!
Add your artichokes, bottom side down, place a round slice of lemon on top of each artichoke and drizzle the olive oil over the tops of all of the artichokes.
Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, and let them steam for 45 min. to an 1 hour. When the bottom leaf is loose, it’s done. Check your water level every 15 min. or so, because you want to keep a constant boil. The water will boil off, so you’ll have to keep adding more, a little at a time.
After an hour, try pulling off a bottom leaf, If it pulls off easily, they are done.
Remove them from the pot onto a plate, Grate some fresh Pecorino Romano over them and put one on each plate. Put a big bowl for the discarded leaves in the center of the table, or give each guest their own bowl. Serve a small amount of melted butter for those who want to dip, garnish with lemon slices. ENJOY!
- Notes: You can cut this recipe in half if you only are making two artichokes!
- When buying artichokes, look for ones that are an even green and have tight leaves, although some have brown spots, that disappear when cooked, it will say on the artichoke itself.
- To eat, tear one leaf at a time and place in your mouth and pull all the flesh and stuffing off, and enjoy, discard the remainder of the leaf.
- After you have enjoyed all the leaves and stuffing, get to the artichoke heart! Clean off the tiny hairs covering the heart, do not eat the hairs or fur! You can use a knife, spoon, or fork. Get to the heart of the choke and enjoy!