Ben and I went to a cooking class with some friends at Whole Foods last month.
The menu featured a selection of foods centered around the theme "A Night in Roma." We made spaghetti carbonaro, braised pork, asparagus with prosciutto and pecorino, semolina gnocchi, zuppa inglese and roman style artichokes. (Carciofi alla romana) It was all delicious.
I came home and showed the menu to my parents, who were in town for a visit and my dad was intrigued by the artichoke recipe. My mom and I decided to try and recreate the recipe while they were here - with a few modifications.
Carciofi alla Romana
4 globe artichokes
1/2 cup parsley leaves
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups freshly chopped bread
1/2 cup chopped olives
1 cup Parmesan cheese
Trim stem from artichokes.
Place stems in a bowl of water with sliced lemon.
Peel away outer leaves of artichoke until you are left with a central cone.
Slice off 3/4 inch off the top of the artichoke. Gently open the artichoke to expose the center.
Scoop out the fuzzy "choke" beneath the tiny little leaves at the center of the artichoke.
Place artichokes in bowl with the stems.
Remove stems from water. Peel and dice.
Place in a bowl and add roughly chopped bread. I used the inside of a round loaf of bread that I was using for a stuffed sandwich.
Add parsley to the bowl.
Add enough olive oil for the stuffing to hold together.
Remove the artichokes from the water. Drain. Stuff each cavity with stuffing.
Put artichokes inside a pan and pour the leftover lemon water into pan about 1/2 way the artichokes.
Place a lid on the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 35 minutes.
Transfer artichokes to a serving dish and enjoy.
I prefer to scoop out the stuffing and eat it first. When the artichoke was empty, I pulled out each leaf individually and scraped the "meat" off of the end with my teeth. (A process of eating that I am not completely comfortable with.) The artichoke itself did not have a lot of flavor but I think that is because this is not artichoke season. I am going to try this again in the Spring when the artichokes are at the peak of freshness.
This recipe is perfectly suited for the cook who has a lot of patience and a lot of extra time. For the true artichoke lover - go for it - it will be well worth the effort. For those of you who prefer something simpler but still like the taste of artichokes - stick to the artichoke dip.