This recipe for stuffed artichokes requires a good dose of patience to prepare, as you are supposed to clean the artichokes, removing all the tough outer leaves, and open them by hand, like a blooming rose. Don’t cut them in half; just press your finger in the center and slowly push apart the leaves, to make some space inside.
Then, stuff the artichokes with a battuto made of garlic, parsley, and carnesecca (literally “dried meat”), which is the old name for pancetta in the classic books of Tuscan cuisine. Chop everything by hand, on a cutting board.
These artichokes are called ritti, meaning “upright,” because to cook them, you arrange them standing up in the pot, one next to the other.
This makes a tasty side dish to a pork chop or roast chicken, but it can be considered also a main course with a few slices of crusty bread.
Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main
- 1 lemon, halved
- 4 artichokes
- 1 bunch parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 1/2 ounces pancetta
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup water
Squeeze lemon halves into a bowl of water and drop the halves in. Clean the artichokes, removing the tough outer layers and the stems. Rub the artichoke hearts with a lemon half and plunge them into the bowl of water. Peel the stems, rub them with lemon, and drop them into the water as well. Set aside and prepare the stuffing.
Finely chop together the parsley, garlic, pancetta, salt, and pepper until you get the texture of a pesto.
Gently open up the artichokes from the center, like a flower, and scoop out the chokes if needed. Stuff them with the parsley and pancetta pesto. Use your fingers to gently press the stuffing into the artichokes.
Arrange the artichokes standing upright in a pot, one next to the other. Add the stems and pour in the extra virgin olive oil and water.
Cover with a lid and cook the artichokes on low heat for about half an hour, until tender. Serve immediately.