Italian-Style Stuffed Jumbo Artichokes
Stuffing for 2 jumbo artichokes
Whenever I saw jumbo artichokes measuring 12-14" in circumference in the market, I
was intimated by their size and daunted to try them for fear they would be tough and
tasteless. The size itself makes you wonder how one person could eat a whole artichoke. I
finally decided that the only way to use them was to make the artichoke the whole meal by
adding a stuffing. I developed this hearty stuffing based on a classic Italian recipe for
stuffed artichokes called carciofi alla romana. That recipe calls for a stuffing of
only chopped parsley, mint and garlic so I augmented it with other ingredients so the
stuffed artichoke could serve as a meal in itself. To cook a stuffed artichoke, you must
steam it instead of boiling it.
Prepare 2 jumbo artichokes as follows:
- Holding the artichoke securely, with a sharp knife cut off the top 1/3 and then cut off
the extra stem at the base so the artichoke will sit upright.
- Working up from the basal leaves, carefully snap off the toughest outer leaves (about
6-8 leaves, depending on the size and coarseness of the leaves). As you move up, the
leaves will be less fibrous and will not snap as readily. When you reach the point where
the leaves are not snapping easily, you will have removed enough of the very toughest
leaves. If your artichoke is super jumbo (14" in circumference), all the big outer
leaves will be tough so just remove a few of the basal leaves.
- With kitchen scissors, cut the top any of the remaining leaves to remove the sharp
- Forcefully spread the outer leaves apart from the center choke as far as you can and
begin the tedious and tough process of removing the inner leaves and the fuzzy choke. This
is a process of pulling and scraping. I found that a pointed, serrated grapefruit spoon
works very well to dig out the main part of the choke. But once this main core is removed,
switch to a rounded teaspoon to scrape out the remaining fuzzy part of the choke covering
the heart. Be sure to remove all the fuzzy part, but leave the heart in tact.
- To prevent the artichoke from discoloring, drizzle some lemon juice over the cut parts.
While you are preparing the stuffing, put a steamer rack into a large pot and add
enough water to create steam without allowing water to touch the bottom of the artichoke.
Cover and heat.
Stuffing: (adjust quantity depending on size of artichoke)
5 slices mortadella (regular or low salt), finely diced
4 large cloves garlic (inner green sprout removed), finely chopped
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 cup finely grated asiago cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped mint and chopped parsley in equal amounts
2 TBS olive oil
1 whole egg,lightly beaten
black pepper to taste
sea salt (use it sparingly if you used regular mortadella, which contains a lot of salt)
- Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl.
- Stuff the hollowed out center first, then use up the remaining stuffing by nestling 1
tsp in between each leaf.
- When each artichoke is stuffed, using cupped hands gently press the stuffed leaves to
the center to bring the stuffed artichoke back into its original shape (as much as you
- Drizzle each stuffed artichoke with 1 TBS oil olive and steam for about 1¼ - 2 hours
depending on the size of the artichoke. (a 13-14" circumference artichoke will take
at least 1½ hours of steaming time.
- Check the water in the bottom of the pot from time to time and add more water as
Each artichoke will be a full and complete meal in itself. It's not necessary to serve
it with any thing else. But if you don't feel comfortable serving just the artichoke, you
could accompany it with a bright cherry tomato salad with an fresh oregano vinaigrette and
- Mint: A confession . . .The first
time I made this recipe, I hadn't planned far enough in advance to allow for the slow
steaming time. So I rushed to put together the stuffing to get the artichokes cooking.
Cutting what I thought was mint from our herb garden, I dashed into the house to assemble
the stuffing. While we were eating, I noticed that the artichokes didn't have a minty
flavor that I would have expected from the amount of mint I had harvested. After we had
finished our meal (and enjoyed it thoroughly), I realized I had used catnip instead of