for 4 portions
1 lemon sliced
¾ cup breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
¼ cup pine seeds
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
Whenever in Italy I take the opportunity that the artichokes are in abundance there and try to have something new made with them. Last time in Cinque Terre I had this delicious artichoke crostata. Well, the artichokes are not too popular around here. We usually get them cooked and marinated in jars or cans. Sometimes, when I get hold of fresh artichokes, I buy them and cook and cook. And stuffing them Italian style is by far my favorite way. I have heard that this veg is healthy, but did not realize that it is this healthy! I just checked out and it turns out it helps in lowering cholesterol and hypertension. And like sunchokes it does have lots on inulin which helps in lowering blood sugar levels and is perfect for diabetics.
Artichokes quickly darken when cut so have ready a bowl of water acudulated with lemon, in which to hold the cleaned veg. Cut the top of the artichoke with a sharp and heavy knife, at about 2/3 of the height. Remove outer leaves, from those closer to the center, with the scissors cut away the sharp, piercing tip. Pull apart the inner petals and with a teaspoon pull out the feathery choke. This is necessary because this part is inedible and as you might choke while eating. Cut away and peel the stem. Put the cleaned artichoke with the stem into a bowl of acidulated water, while we clean the other. Cook the artichokes and stems in the water with lemon and salt and pepper for 15 minutes. Drain the artichokes and cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese, thyme, pine nuts, chopped, cooked artichoke stems and parsley. Season everything with salt and pepper. Mix with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Put the artichokes in a casserole dish, stuff the hollowed insides with bread crumb stuffing and sprinkle the remaining stuffing over the top. Pour the remaining olive oil on top and at each artichoke put a clove of garlic. Bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes, until browned all over the top. Serve one artichoke per person. We eat them like that: tear away outer leaves and with your teeth take off the flesh from the inner side: heart eat as whole. Messy but fun and oh-so-delicious.
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