Stuffed Artichoke Hearts Recipe | Carciofi “alla Romana”

“Mammole” artichokes with their purple tops and small leaves are one of our region’s most typical products. As soon as I see them popping up on the farm, I know Spring has finally arrived. This recipe is really simple but for such a robust looking vegetable they’re surprisingly delicate so make sure to take extra special care when preparing them.

It was my mother-in-law who first taught me the dark arts of how to transform this leathery looking flower into a tender delicious vegetable and I will always remember her using it to teach me a lesson about Italy itself through the words of the Italian writer Carlo Levi:

“Italy is a great, mythological artichoke, a green and purple flower, where every leaf hides another, ever layer covers another, which is jealously hidden. Who is able to pull of the external leaves, will discover unthinkable things, in a difficult journey through space and across time.’

Ingredients
1 Lemon
4 Mammole artichokes (Carciofo Romanesco del Lazio IGP)
1 Pennyroyal mint (“mentuccia”)
1 Clove of garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sabina DOP
Salt & Pepper

Steps
1. Fill a saucepan with water then cut the lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice into the water
2. Before preparing the artichokes, rub what’s left of the lemon onto your hands. This will stop the artichokes from going black
3. Now peel off the leaves (with the help of a small knife if it makes it easier)
4. Cut the end off the stems of the artichokes, leaving a couple of inches and then cut off ¼ of an inch from the top of the artichoke
5. Open up the artichoke with your hands and then cut out the “beard” (barbetta) of the artichoke from the middle to make room for the stuffing
6. Peel the stem with a sharp knife and then immerse your cleaned artichoke hearts into your saucepan so that they are covered by the water to ensure they don’t go black
7. Now make the filling by gently chopping the mint then peel and slice the garlic before chopping it but not too finely
8. Mix the garlic and mint together and season with salt and pepper
9. Remove the artichokes from the pan, turn them upside down to remove any excess water, and then stuff with the mint and garlic stuffing
10. Place the artichokes top down in a deep pan.
11. Add the water until it reaches the start of the stem and then add the olive oil, making sure the artichokes are touching each other
12. Cover the plan and simmer on a low heat for approx. 30 mins until they’re tender and soft, then serve.

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