We’re fully in the season of Roman, or globe, artichokes. There are so many delicious ways to prepare them, but the best is Carciofi alla Romana.
I usually buy artichokes that have already been partially cleaned at the market, in other words all the tough outer leaves removed, plus the outer layer of the stem. If you can’t find them, not to worry, they’re easy to prepare:
I use a melon baller to remove the beard from inside the artichoke.
Once this is done finely chop a garlic clove, two handfuls of mentuccia leaves, a heaping tablespoon of fresh breadcrumbs and a drizzling of olive oil. This is enough stuffing for four artichokes.
Use your fingers to put the stuffing into the center of each artichoke, plus some in between the leaves.
Lay the artichokes sideways in a pan, drizzle with olive oil, 1/2 cup dry white wine and enough water to keep the artichokes moist.Cover and cook 20 to 30 minutes, until very tender and most of the liquid has evaporated. Turn the artichokes over occasionally during the cooking process.
Serve warm or at room temperature!
Carciofi alla Romana (Artichokes Stuffed with Garlic, Breadcrumbs, and Calamint)
- 6 Artichokes globe artichokes are ideal
For the acidulated water
- 3 medium lemons Lemon juice, fresh squeezed
- 4 cups Water
For the filling
- 1/4 cup Breadcrumbs, optional
- 2 cloves Garlic finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons Fresh calamint and/or parsley finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Salt
For cooking the artichokes
- 60 milliliters Olive oil 1/4 cup
- 120 milliliters Water 1/2 cup
- 120 millilitres Dry white wine, optional 1/2 cup
Prepare a bowl of cold water and lemon juice (acidulated water) for the cleaned artichokes to keep them from turning brown as you work.
Clean the artichokes by removing the tough outer leaves and peeling away the tough outer layer of the stem with a vegetable peeler.
Cut off the top 1/4 to 1/3 of the artichokes.
Rap artichokes gently on a cutting board to open them up.
Remove the inner beard using a melon baller and return to the acidulated water.
Combine the calamint or parsley, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and garlic (and bread crumbs, if desired).
Once all artichokes are cleaned, drain well and dry off.
Place the calamint mixture in the center of each artichoke, then gently close the artichokes up by squeezing them back together.
Put the remaining olive oil, water and optional wine in a heavy pot just large enough to hold the artichokes.
Add the artichokes top down or laying sideways and cook covered until tender or a knife pierces the artichokes, about 20 minutes.
A melon baller works beautifully to remove the inner beard of the artichoke. In alternative use a small spoon.