Stuffed Artichokes / Carciofi Ripieni
I served these artichokes to friends who were celebrating twenty-five years of marriage. Usually, I cook them the traditional way with butter, mint, and garlic, but I wanted to be creative so I stuffed them with acini di pepe, a tiny pasta usually used for soup. I used the smaller Australian artichoke, which has softer outer leaves and fewer thorns, but globe artichokes work just as well.
- 2 medium artichokes (about ¾ pound )
- 2 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup Acini di Pepe or Pastina
- 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter
- 3 ounces Asiago cheese, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 1/2 juice oflemon
- Cut off the stems and remove any tough outer leaves from the artichokes. Trim any needlelike thorns with a scissors. With a sharp knife, cut the artichokes in half lengthwise. Use a melon ball scoop to scrap out the fuzzy chokes and discard. Also discard the yellowish interior leaves.
- In a saucepan just large enough to hold them, place the artichokes cut side down. Fill the pan with enough water to just cover them. Add the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-high and gently boil the artichokes for about 20 minutes, or until a leave is easily detached from the base. Carefully drain the artichokes in a colander and set aside to cool.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the salt and pasta, and boil until tender, about 10 minutes. The pasta will absorb most of the water. Drain in a colander and place in a bowl. Add the butter, half the cheese, pepper, and parsley. Mix well
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- With the remaining tablespoon of oil, grease a 7-inch casserole dish. Add the artichokes cut side up in a single layer. Fill each cavity with some of the pasta mixture, mounding it up slightly. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the artichokes. Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot. Serve immediately.
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