Artichokes Stuffed with Breadcrumbs makes a wonderful side dish for an extraordinary meal. The flavor and texture is extraordinary. To eat them, pull off a leaf, the stuffing will usually adhere to the inside of the pulled leaf or outside of the next one. Scrape the stuffing from the leaf and the bottom half of the inside of each leaf with your teeth. When all the leaves are gone, you will get to the remaining choke. Remove that with a spoon and don’t eat it. The bottom of the artichoke can then be cut with a fork, spoon or knife and eaten. it is soft and delicious.
- 1 1/2 Cups dry bread crumbs
- 1 Cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese; (4 ounces)
- 1 Cup loosely packed minced fresh parsley
- 6 medium cloves garlic; minced
- salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 small to medium whole artichokes, small outer leaves removed, stems and top trimmed, chokes removed; (see Notes)
- artichoke stems, peeled and minced
- 1/2 Cup olive oil
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lemon; cut into 8 wedges
- chicken or vegetable broth or water, as needed
- For the stuffing, mix all ingredients including 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Spoon about 1/3 cup of this filling into the cavity of each artichoke and into the leaves, filling evenly.
- Arrange artichokes upright in a single layer in a nonreactive Dutch oven or large, deep skillet. Rub the cut potion of each artichoke with lemon to keep it from discoloring. Drizzle each artichoke with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Add remaining ingredients (including remaining stuffing), along with enough broth or water to come 1 1/4 inches up the sides of the artichokes.
- Bring to simmer; cover and simmer until a small knife inserted into each stuffed artichoke easily pierces the bottom of the artichoke, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Carefully remove artichokes with a slotted spoon and let them drain on paper towels. (Can be covered and set aside at room temperature up to 4 hours.)
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
The stem of the artichoke can be as many as 10 inches long, depending on the type of artichoke you purchase. Most have a stem averaging 3 inches. Cut off the bottom 1/4-inch and discard. Then, slice the stem off very close to the bottom of the artichoke. Peel it, rub it with lemon and mince it into 1/4-inch or smaller pieces. Sprinkle with lemon juice and toss, then mix the minced artichoke stem with the breadcrumb mixture. Use this to stuff the artichokes, as directed. The stems are full of vitamins and nutrients.
The best breadcrumbs to use are ones freshly grated from leftover Italian or French bread. Remember, this is Italian cooking, so exact measures are not required or expected.
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