Italian artichokes are much smaller than our globe artichoke. At home, artichokes were marinated in olive oil and vinegar and served as an antipasto, or they were boiled, stuffed, and baked. Grandma Galasso liked to make them the Roman way, stuffed with lots of garlic and mint. I go a little further and add fettucine.
6 medium artichokes
Juice of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
Coarsely ground black pepper
Roll the artichokes back and forth across a countertop to loosen the leaves a bit. Cut the stems off the bottoms and remove the tough outer leaves. Cut off about ¼ inch of the tops. Spread the center leaves of each artichoke to expose the fuzzy interior choke and remove the fuzzy choke; I use a small melon baller for this. Rinse the artichokes well.
Place the artichokes upright in a pot just large enough to hold them and add water to cover them by 1 inch. Add the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and boil gently for 30 to 35 minutes, or until you can easily pull a leaf from one of the artichokes. Drain them immediately and refresh under cold water. Place them upside down on a towel.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling water, cook the fettucine until al dente; drain well and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a skillet, heat ¼ cup of the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until soft. Add the fettucine and cook, stirring, over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the Pecorino Romano cheese and mint.
Place the artichokes upright in an oiled baking dish. Divide the fettucine mixture evenly among the artichokes, filling the center cavity of each one to the top. Give each artichoke a grinding of black pepper and drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the tops.
Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. Serve at once.
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