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Artichokes Made Sicilian Style, Stuffed with Onions and Cheese

March 5, 2021

Artichokes Made Sicilian Style, Stuffed with Onions and Cheese

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Last Sunday my mom made Artichokes Sicilian Style, Stuffed with Onions and Cheese. This is one of the tastiest ways to make this uniquely wonderful vegetable. The stuffing is primarily made up of onions and pecorino romano cheese and topped off with a pinch of dried mint. The combination really brings out the sweetness in the artichoke. We were literally licking our fingers by the time we finished eating.

Artichoke Sicilian Style stuffed with onion and cheese next to a pan seared pork chop

To many people artichokes are a bit intimidating to eat let alone prepare. It is probably on the list of things not to eat on a first date since they can be a little messy. But they are so good that I say go for it! If the guy or gal, can’t appreciate a good artichoke and the labor of love that goes into eating it, then you may want to think twice about a second date!

The artichoke is part of the thistle family. It has been cultivated from another Italian favorite, the cardoon (which we will cook on another day). Varieties of artichokes were cultivated in Sicily and then shared with the northern Italian regions, France and Spain. The artichoke itself is actually the flower bud of the plant before the flower blooms.

Photo from Wikipedia : CC BY-SA 3.0

This special vegetable is revered in Italy, especially in Sicily. To Italians artichoke season is the best time of the year. They are most abundant during the spring months. We were lucky enough to have been in Sicily during the spring of 2019 and enjoyed eating some of the largest artichokes I have ever seen.

Artichokes piled on a table with other vegetables in a outdoor market
Artichokes at the farmers market in Ortigia, Sicily from our 2019 trip.

Eating an Artichoke

So how do you eat an artichoke? The edible parts are the tender meaty ends at the bottom of the leaves, the center or the heart and the stalk. The outer leaves tend to be tough and fibrous so you would bite down on the bottom part of the leaf and pull off the tender portion. As you get closer to the center the leaves will become softer and more of it will be edible. Once you get to the center you will find the choke which is the fuzzy filament of the artichoke and covers the heart. The choke is not edible in a mature artichoke, so go ahead and spoon it out. Now you have reached the heart, which is your prize for all the work you did to get this far. It is tender and sweet and well worth the effort!

Artichokes Sicilian style with onion and grated cheese melted on top.

Preparing Artichokes Made Sicilian Style, Stuffed with Onion and Cheese

  • Start by rinsing them off in cold water. I like to spread the leaves out a bit and let water run between them. Just be careful because the needles at the top of the leaves are sharp. Then hold them upside down to drain any trapped water out of them.
  • Remove the two outer layers of leaves as these are the toughest.
  • Lay the artichoke on it side and using a sharp knife, cut the top 1/3 of the artichoke off.
  • Take a half of a lemon and rub it on the exposed parts of the leaves of the artichoke to keep it from turning brown and set aside.
  • Now lay the artichoke on it’s side again and trim off the stem as close to the bottom of the artichoke as possible. You want to have a flat bottom so that the artichoke can sit flat in your pan and plate.
  • Spread the leaves as far apart as you can without breaking them off. They will bounce back into place but it will make it easier to get your ingredients between the leaves when you start to stuff them.
  • Repeat this with the remaining artichokes.
  • Salt and pepper the artichokes again spreading the leaves out as much as your can to get the seasoning distributed.
  • Take your diced onion and basically stuff it in between the leaves. This is not going to be perfect, you just want to have do your best to get a good amount into the artichoke.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the artichokes.
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumbs, cheese and mint over the artichokes and then spread the leaves out again, so that the ingredients fall into the center.
  • Top off the artichokes with some additional grated pecorino romano cheese.
  • Place your artichokes in a sauce pan big enough to fit them but not so big that they will fall over when you add water.
  • Fill the pan with water about 2/3 of the way up the artichoke. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.
  • Cook over medium high heat for 30-40 minutes.
  • The artichokes are done when you can easily insert a knife into the center and the heart is tender.
Artichoke Sicilian Style stuffed with onion and cheese next to a pan seared pork chop

Artichokes Sicilian Style Stuffed with Onion and Cheese

Artichokes are stuffed with onion and cheese then poached until tender. The result creates a savory topping that brings out the sweetness in the artichoke.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 105 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Artichokes
  • 1 slice lemon
  • ½ Onion diced
  • tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper ground
  • 4 tsp Bread crumbs
  • 4 tsp Pecorino Romano Cheese grated
  • 4 pinches Mint dried
  • 3 tsp Olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Remove the two outer layers of leaves and cut the stems off at the very base of the artichokes, then cut the top third of the leaves off.
  • Rub the lemon on the exposed top of the artichokes.
  • Spread the leaves apart and stuff each artichoke with the diced onion, pushing the onion into the artichoke. You may have to spread the leaves out again as you add the ingredients.
  • Pour two tablespoons of the olive oil on top of the artichokes. Dividing it equally among the 4 artichokes.
  • Add pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of mint to each artichoke.
  • Sprinkle the bread crumbs and grated cheese over each artichoke and place them into a medium saucepan. Fill with water so that the water comes 2/3 of the way up on the artichokes.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the slice of lemon to the water. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the artichoke easily cuts through to the bottom.

Nutrition

Serving: 4servingsCalories: 105kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 5gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 1020mgPotassium: 508mgFiber: 7gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 65IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 2mg
Keyword arthicokes, stuffed artichokes, vegetables, side dishes
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