Italian Stuffed Artichokes

These Italian stuffed artichokes are filled with ricotta cheese, breadcrumbs, and herbs, then roasted to bring out the flavor. They make for a great side dish or appetizer!

Once you have tasted fresh artichokes, you’ll never go back to the canned kind! With a little bit of preparation, you will find yourself coming back to these Italian stuffed artichokes again and again. 

What most people don’t know about artichokes is that they are the unbloomed flower buds of a thistle native to the Mediterranean, in countries like France, Italy, and Spain. Artichokes have been grown in Italy since the classical period, and Italy is the top producer of artichokes in the world! In Italian, this recipe is known as “carciofi ripieni” — carciofi means artichoke and ripieni means stuffed. You’ll often find recipes for stuffed artichokes in Sicily, where my family is from!

How to choose an artichoke at the store

When selecting an artichoke from the store, you should look for it to be 

  • Weight — It should feel heavy and firm. Pick one up and compare it to other artichokes. This means it’s packed with moisture and fresh instead of dry and tough.
  • Petals/leaves – they should be tightly closed and compact, especially towards the tip of the vegetable. If they are starting to separate from the artichoke it means that it is old. 
  • Color – Look for an artichoke that is a vibrant green color. Avoid artichokes if they are dry looking or have any purple on the outside, which means they are overripe and starting to flower. A few brown patches are normal due to frost or slight handling. 

Tips for cutting an artichoke

Artichokes can be intimidating to cut at first but after a few times, you’ll be a pro. You just need to remember to slice off the top and bottom, scoop out the choke and pointy insides, and peel off the very outer leaves.

  • Use a serrated knife to cut off the top and stem, as well as slice it in half. 
  • To cut out the pointy leaves in the middle, I like to use kitchen scissors to snip right above the fuzzy choke part. That makes it super easy to pull out the pointy and sometimes purple leaves in the center of the choke.
  • To remove the inedible fuzzy choke part of the vegetable, grab a spoon. Turn it over so the bottom part faces down and insert it into the furthest back point of the artichoke above the choke. Then scrape towards you until all the fuzzy parts are removed.
  • Immediately squeeze lemon juice over the artichokes to prevent browning.

How to make stuffed artichokes

Heat oven to 400°F.

Mix the ricotta, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and a small squeeze of lemon juice. Set aside. 

Cut off the bottom stem of the artichoke so that it is flat. Peel off the hard outer leaves, about 1 layer.

Cut 1 ½ inches from the top of the artichoke and slice in half vertically, and immediately squeeze some lemon juice on the exposed part to prevent browning.

Then, use kitchen shears to cut horizontally above the fuzzy part. Pull out the inner portion of the artichoke with pointed tips.  

Using a spoon, insert it just below where the fuzzy choke part begins and force it back into the artichoke. Keep doing this until you have created a horizontal line across the artichoke. Then gripping your spoon round side up with your thumb and index finger, Scrape out the fuzzy part starting with the furthest part away until all of the choke has been removed. 

Begin stuffing the ricotta-breadcrumb mixture into each leaf starting with the outer leaves, stuffing as far down as possible. After all leaves are stuffed, fill the cavity of the artichoke with the remaining ricotta mixture.

Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs on top of the artichokes. Then drizzle olive oil over the bread crumbs and top side of the artichoke so that it gets into the artichoke. 

Bake for 45 minutes.

How to eat roasted artichokes

So after you’ve made this recipe, you might be thinking about how to actually eat this stuffed artichoke. 

Start by pulling off one petal (leaf) of the artichoke. Holding the petal from the flat top side, pull the artichoke through your teeth to scrape off the tender part and the ricotta stuffing. Discard the rest of the petal. The closer you get to the center of the artichoke, the softer the artichoke flesh will be. Once you’ve gone through all the leaves, you will be left with the bottom of the artichoke, known as the artichoke heart. This portion is entirely edible. What I like to do is save the stuffing from the cavity, and eat it with the artichoke heart. So tasty!

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Italian Stuffed Artichokes

These Italian stuffed artichokes are filled with ricotta cheese, breadcrumbs, and herbs, then roasted to bring out the flavor. They make for a great side dish or appetizer!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian stuffed artichokes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • cup + 4 tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs divided
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon of dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • 2 artichokes
  • 1 lemon
  • extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 400°F.
  • Mix the ricotta, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and a small squeeze of lemon juice. Set aside.
  • Cut off the bottom stem of the artichoke so that it is flat. Peel off the hard outer leaves, about 2 layers. Cut 1 ½ inches from the top of the artichoke and slice in half vertically, and immediately squeeze some lemon juice on the exposed part to prevent browning. Then, use kitchen shears to cut horizontally above the fuzzy part. Pull out the inner portion of the artichoke with pointed tips.
  • Using a spoon, insert it just below where the fuzzy choke part begins and force it back into the artichoke. Keep doing this until you have created a horizontal line across the artichoke. Then gripping your spoon round side up with your thumb and index finger, scrape out the fuzzy part starting with the furthest part away until all of the choke has been removed.
  • Begin stuffing the ricotta-breadcrumb mixture into each leaf starting with the outer leaves, stuffing as far down as possible. After all leaves are stuffed, fill the cavity of the artichoke with the remaining ricotta mixture.
  • Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs on top of the artichokes. Then drizzle olive oil over the bread crumbs and top side of the artichoke so that it gets into the artichoke. Bake for 45 minutes.

 

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