Thursday, September 30, 2010

Zelinda's Stuffed Artichokes

Mom has been extolling the health benefits of the artichoke on the digestive system for as long as I can remember. Over the years I've learned to value her sound advice, which has been handed down from generation to generation.  Once again she was spot on, as confirmed by the information I gleaned while searching for information on the artichoke, which is part of the thistle family and found in Italy as far back as the 9th century. Cynarin, a chemical compound found in the pulp part of the leaves actually helps digestion by  increasing the bile flow (ref.Wikipedia). According to different articles it is also known to lower cholesterol by increasing the HDL/LDL levels. No wonder while visiting Italy everyone insisted on offering Cynar, a bitter aperitif liqueur.  However, I think I'll stick with the taste of a steamed stuffed artichoke for a ' two in one', taste and healthy component. 
These stuffed artichokes  were often found on my parent's table and so when I spotted them at the grocer's I couldn't resist making a few just the way mom still makes them. The recipe for this  filling is more than sufficient for three to four artichokes depending the size of the artichoke and the quantity used to fill each one.

1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped celery leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves (2-3 sprigs)
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tomatoes peeled and chopped
3 eggs slightly beaten
2 tablespoons extra virgin oil

In a mixing bowl combine the 1st five ingredients and season with the salt and pepper. Toss in the tomatoes and mix in the beaten eggs and oil to combine.
1 tomato sliced for topping
mozzarella for topping

Tomato breadcrumb filling

 Once you have rinsed the artichokes, cut off the stem and trim the bottom.
 Remove the outer thorny layers of leaves

 Cut off  an inch off the top of the artichokes

 Place in a bowl of ice water to which has been added juice of 1/2 lemon to avoid discoloration

 Take the artichoke and gently spread the leaves to prepare them for the filling.
 Spoon in the prepared breadcrumb filling between the inner leaves,
with your fingers pat the filling into the artichoke leaves.

Top each artichoke with a slice of tomato and a generous dollop of buffalo mozzarella cheese.

Pour 2cups of water in a saucepan and add the artichokes. Drizzle the tops with some extra virgin oil. Cover and cook on medium heat until the water starts to boil. Turn down the heat and continue to simmer for 35-45 minutes.


  1. I adore artichokes...I could eat one at every meal. I've never seen such a delightful recipe though! Normally I just steam mine and serve them with butter. But this is truly special! Thanks for sharing one of your family favorites. It could quickly become one of mine!

  2. Thanks for this recipe! Jimmy loves artichokes and I never know what to do with them..... until now!

  3. Monet, I have my mom to thank for this family recipe. The stuffing and cheese make it a hearty dish. Hope you give it a try.

  4. I'm glad I was able to share my mom's artichoke recipe with you. Hope Jimmy likes the recipe.

  5. These artichokes look fantastic, we never ate them stuffed, just steamed with oil and vinegar. They look so delicious and very appetizing like this. As for the Cynar liquer, I do remember that bottle coming out after dinner everytime we had guests, I always wondered why there was a picture of an artichoke on the bottle, now the mystery has been solved! As always, I learn something new when I come here.

  6. Ava, When my mom was stuck for time she too would steam the artichokes without stuffing. She would cook them in some water,oil,garlic and a few hot chili flakes. I've tried this at home but when it come to my husband, the stuffing is what really sells the dish .
    By the way,I haven't tasted Cynar liqueur in years and probably should give it another try. You never know it might grow on me.
    It's always a pleasure connecting with you through Italian recipes we share in common. Best of luck in the contest.

  7. This is how I remember eating artichokes as a kid. It was only until I had them at a friend's from Calabria, that I peeled the leaves and dipped them in olive oil and lemon. I love experiencing the same ingredient but treated differently in cooking from other regions or countries. Love the blog. Keep writing.

  8. Liza,I'm so glad the recipe brings back childhood memories for you. Thanks for leaving such a lovely comment, your support is really appreciated. Best of luck with the giveaway contest.