Warning: You will never make artichokes any other way again. These will require napkins and/or much licking of the fingers. Make extras, you will want them and they are great re-heated.
Not everyone at our Easter Feast loved these artichokes, the boy and his soon-to-be-wife turned up their noses...they do not eat anything green...so that left plenty for me and the mister. Speaking of the mister, I am not speaking to him. He has been south of pleasant these days...tax time is looming, the leak in our shower is growing (still have not found a contractor who can fix our bathroom/shower that was brand new 4 1/2 years ago and not charge us like they were redoing the entire bathroom!) and someone who works for the mister threatened to kill him! It's just like an episode of Law and Order! The mister being threatened is nothing new - it happens about once a month (considering the mister's personality, it's surprising he isn't threatened weekly or even daily!) so I don't get excited about it...I don't wring my hands or pace the floor or play the "what if" game...I just remind him to be careful, to look over his shoulders when leaving Global Headquarters and to play nice...and when I said that, the mister responded with, "Play nice?!?!? I hate this #$&%! While you're sitting on your arse all day I'm down here in the trenches!" Ummmm...while I'm sitting on my arse I'm working for the mister! So after his little snit, the last thing I said to the mister was, "Niiiiiiiiiiiiice." So it's been pretty quiet around here...rather niiiiiiiiiiice!
Beautiful, no? Artichokes stuffed with Italian bread crumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, toasted pine nuts and Italian parsley, then baked in white wine...seriously, you can transport yourself to the Italian Riveria with one bite!
Italian Stuffed Artichokes - Adapted from Lidia's Italy
juice from 2 lemons
zest from 1 lemon
3 large artichokes or 6 medium to small
1 1/2 cups fine dry Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry white wine
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon peperoncino flakes
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Zest one lemon and set zest aside. Fill a bowl with about one quart of cold water and add the juice of one lemon, plus the squeezed out halves. Clean the artichokes by peeling away the tough outer leaves and discarding them. Using a paring knife, trim away any tough parts around the base and stem of the artichoke. With a serrated knife, cut off the top third of the artichoke and discard.
Push the leaves open to expose the fuzzy purple choke/center. With a small spoon (a grapefruit spoon works great) scrape out the choke to expose the heart at the bottom of the artichoke. Put the prepared artichoke in the bowl of water and lemon juice to keep it fresh.
In a medium bowl combine the bread crumbs, grated cheese, pine nuts, parsley, olive oil, salt and the lemon zest. Toss with a fork until all crumbs are moistened with olive oil.
Remove the cleaned artichokes from the water, and drain them upside down on a kitchen towel. Spread the leaves of the artichoke open, and fill the center with the stuffing. Continue to work outward, sprinkling and packing stuffing into the rows of leaves as you separate them. Put the artichokes into a baking dish. (At this point you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. When ready to bake, allow to sit on counter for 30 minutes before baking.)
Pour the wine and 1 cup of water around the artichoke bottoms in the baking dish and add the remaining lemon juice. Sprinkle the peperoncino flakes over the tops and drizzle a bit more olive oil over each artichoke. Tent the dish with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the artichokes are tender all the way through and the crumbs are browned and crusty, about 20 to 30 minutes more. Serve the artichokes in shallow soup plates, topped with the cooking juices.
The future D-I-L was put to work making the bunny napkins for our table, after the boy tried and failed...she followed a video on line and after a few stabs she nailed it. I gave the love birds a large Easter Basket and they happily tore into it after the feast...along with enough candy to keep our dentist in Gucci's, it had some cute Easter plates for them to use next Easter and a few other fun things. The boy still expects an Easter Basket...but I suppose this will be the last one he gets from me :(