Stuffed vegetables are a staple in our family cooking repertoire. Eggplants are usually stuffed with meat, bell peppers with rice, and artichokes and zucchini with canned tuna—at least according to my grandma. Once you try them, you’ll have to agree with her.
These are my grandma’s tuna and pecorino stuffed artichokes, round, chubby vegetables with a soft, tasty filling, cooked with potato wedges in water and olive oil. The water, evaporating, will steam and cook the artichokes, and the remaining olive oil in the pot will brown them, turning the outer leaves into crispy chips. Golden soft potatoes are a bonus.
You’ll be left with a deep green olive oil that makes the artichokes shimmer—and is also so tasty that you’ll need lots of bread to mop it all up directly from the pan. You’ll even be licking it off your fingers.
- 1 lemon, halved
- 8 artichokes
- 1 1/3 cup good quality canned tuna in oil, drained
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons grated aged pecorino Toscano or Romano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 medium potatoes
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
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. Set aside and prepare the stuffing.
In a bowl, mix the drained tuna, breadcrumbs, parsley, eggs, and pecorino. Season with salt and pepper.
Gently open each artichoke from the center with your hands, scoop out the chokes if needed, and stuff them with the tuna filling.
Arrange the artichokes in a deep pot with a flat bottom, large enough to fit them all.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into wedges, then arrange them all around the artichokes to prop them up, to prevent them from falling over while they cook. Season the potatoes with salt, then pour the water and extra virgin olive oil into the pot.
Cook the artichokes over medium-low heat, covered with a lid, for about an hour.
You can serve the artichokes immediately or the next day; reheat them and they will be even tastier.