Italian Stuffed Artichokes Recipe
Stuffed artichokes are a great side dish or appetizer. Our Italian Stuffed Artichoke recipe is elegant, full of flavor and looks great. This is a simple recipe that will impress your guests every time. This dish does take some time to prepare, so allow yourself a good 2-½ hours to make it. You will find it is well worth the effort when you taste the results.
Artichokes are part of the thistle family. It is thought that artichokes originated in North Africa. Like apples and potatoes, once you cut an artichoke, it starts to discolor. Keep a lemon on hand to rub on the cut portions to keep them from discoloration. While you may want to trim the stems, keep the center. It tastes just as good as the artichoke heart. When you shop for artichokes, look for dark green specimens that feel heavy. The leaves should be fairly tight.
The herbs in this recipe really bring out the flavors of the stuffing. The basil adds a spicy component, the parsley adds a fresh green flavor, and the mint refreshes the palate. The plum tomatoes are meaty and full of rich tomato flavor. Try to get some that are vine ripened if possible to get the most from your tomatoes. Local farm stands are a good source for vine ripened tomatoes and fresh herbs. If you have a few pots on your patio, you may be able to supply your own tomatoes or herbs. They are easy to grow and it is very satisfying to pick your fresh ingredients and use them right away in the kitchen.
- 2 lemons, halved
- 3 whole garlic cloves, crushed
- 6 large artichokes
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ⅓ cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 4 Tablespoons drained capers
- 6 ounces Italian bread, crust removed, cut into small cubes
- 2-½ pounds plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 12 fresh Italian parsley springs for garnish
- Juice the lemon halves into a large pot of cold water. Toss in the spent lemon halves and the whole garlic.
- Cut the top quarter off each artichoke. With a small knife, trim the artichoke stems. Starting with the lowest layer of leaves, snap off the toughest leaves on the outside. Cut the artichokes in quarters. Scoop out the fibrous choke in the center and the purple leaves. Place the artichokes in the lemon water.
- Cover and boil until the artichokes are tender. This may take up to 45 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Set the quarters aside until they are room temperature.
- Mix the lemon juice, herbs, garlic, lemon peel, capers, tomatoes, and bread together in a big bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
- Arrange the artichoke quarters on a platter, with the inside of the artichoke facing up. Spoon the tomato mixture into the hollow of each quarter, in equal portions. Drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Our twist on the traditional stuffed artichoke is a bit different. Instead of stuffing seasoned bread crumbs between each leaf, we quartered the artichoke and filled it with a delicious mixture of tomatoes, herbs, and seasonings. This is an elegant way to serve up artichokes when they are in season. You can serve them as an appetizer or as a side dish. Everyone gets part of the tender heart of the artichoke, which is the real prize. Artichokes can be expensive, and this dish helps you make the most of them.
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