Apulian cuisine is famous for its authentic and traditional use of fresh, seasonal vegetables and winter is no exception to the rule. One of the tastiest dishes around at this time of year is the mighty artichoke. Not only are they delicious to eat, they have an incredible amount of health benefits for the body: It is a diuretic vegetable, has excellent nutritional value, aids digestion, strengthens the liver, the gall bladder, and reduces cholesterol levels.
What more could you ask for? Our family farm in Puglia is truly rich in vegetables and the endless, mouth-watering recipes we have up our sleeve will have you booking the next flight out! As soon as the family see the artichokes growing, the word is spread around. Everyone has their eyes on them because they know, as soon as our team on the farm begin picking them, my auntie Lucia is ready to cook them! So, until we can all get out to eat at my auntie Lucia’s house in Puglia, here’s one of her best and most frequently made family recipes ever – of course following the Apulian tradition – the stuffed artichoke!
This dish can be served as a starter, main course or on the side. But do not be fooled, it is so delicious; it will be the main attraction!
- 4 mini artichokes
- 200g grated Parmesan cheese
- 100g Pecorino cheese
(Use 300g Parmesan if you cannot find Pecorino)
- 1 large / 2 small eggs
- 1 minced clove of garlic
- 1 handful of parsley finely chopped
- pinch of salt and pepper
- Terre Di San Vito’s extra virgin olive oil.
Use gloves when cleaning the artichokes as when you begin to clean them, they will stain your fingers!
Preparing the artichokes:
Clean and wash the artichokes.
Remove the outer leaves (the hardest ones) and cut off the upper part (the tops where it is a bit like thorns).
It looks like you are wasting a lot but this part of the vegetable is very hard and is not needed.
Cut the stem and off, trim it (bark) to remove the outer stringy bits – just like you would clean celery.
Then put everything into a bowl with cold water and a squeeze of lemon. This will keep them from discolouring.
Preparing the stuffing:
In another bowl, prepare the filling by mixing all the ingredients together. Once completely mixed, add a couple of tablespoons of our delicious olive oil so that it is the consistency of a very thick batter. Open the artichoke by spreading the centre rose with your hands and fill generously with the prepared cheese mixture.
Finally, use a medium sized saucepan, filled to half the height of your artichoke. Do not add too much water – you DO NOT want the water to cover the artichoke or it will wash away the stuffing.
Add a tablespoon of salt and bring to the boil.
As soon as the water begins to boil, add a drizzle of olive oil and carefully place the artichokes vertically (upright), so that the open end with the filling is facing up.
Fit them close to each other so that they remain standing. Add the stems.
Cover and cook over a low heat for about half an hour. Add more water when you see it evaporating.
Cook for a total of 1 hour or until the artichoke stems are cooked through – test by prodding with a knife.
Serve on a deep plate with a little of the cooking liquid, the stalks and of course, a final drizzle of our extra virgin olive oil and some crusty bread. Delicious – Buon appetito!
Serve with a bottle of our fabulous Terre Di San Vito Apeneste white wine.
- Do not overfill your saucepan with water – it must not cover the artichokes
- Use mini, baby artichokes, not the large globe artichoke as they do not have the fibrous ‘choke’ in the heart.
- This dish can be eaten, hot, warm or cold.
- Keep refrigerated once cooled.
- Wear gloves when cleaning the artichokes.