Stuffed Artichokes Caltanissetta Style

(“ Carciofi Ripieni alla Nissena” - “Cacocciuli Chini 'a Nissinisi”)

 

The anchovies and toasted breadcrumbs, the fresh and floral aroma of the cheeses and their pungent tang, the peppery flavor of the parsley, the hardly noticeable scent of garlic, the flavorful local olive oil and the sweetness of the artichokes combine to produce the Cacocciuli Ripieni alla Nissena.
This delicacy full of contrasting flavors and with elegant taste, is easy to prepare and enjoy as a snack, for a lunch or to conclude a dinner.

 

Serve 6

Ingredients:

  • 6 artichokes trimmed for stuffing
  • ½ cup of grated pecorino cheese
  • ½ cup of diced provola or caciocavallo cheese
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup of chopped parsley
  • 3 roughly sliced garlic cloves
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ lemon

 

Preparation of Artichokes 


When preparing artichokes for cooking, wear utility gloves so you can avoid staining your hands. Prepare a basin with water, acidulated with the juice of a lemon, to soak the artichokes after they are trimmed, to prevent discoloration. 
Wash the artichokes to remove sand, small stone or any foreign object. 
Remove stem and discard hard outer leaves, the first 2 or 3 rows, until the artichoke’s leaves became light in color and usually tender. Trim base cutting enough so the artichoke can stand up in the cooking pot. Cut off one-third of the petals eliminating the pointy top.

 

Preparation of the Stuffing

Step One
In a medium size skillet, place 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the anchovies and smash them with the help of a fork. In the same skillet, add the breadcrumbs, mix it well and on a medium heat, sauté until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted; set on the side to cool.
In a bowl combine the breadcrumbs, the grated and diced cheese, parsley, and mix well. 

Step Two
Bang the trimmed artichokes on the counter or cutting board to loosen the leaves, press them upside down and spread the petals apart so they can be stuffed. Sprinkle each artichoke with some salt and pepper to taste.

Step Three
Hold each artichoke over the top of the bowl containing the stuffing, sprinkle between the petals, pressing inside the artichoke. Distribute equally any remaining filling to form a cover on top to crown each artichoke.

 

Cooking the Artichokes

In a pot big enough to hold the artichokes, at a medium heat sauté the garlic with the remaining olive oil. Cool a few minutes.
Place the stuffed artichokes close together in the pot with the garlic and oil; fill any empty space with a cup filled with water and/or use aluminum foil as filler. Cover artichokes half way with cold water and to prevent discoloration, add the ¼ of lemon after squeezing a few drops of the juice into the pot; also add a half teaspoon of salt.
Bring pot to a boil and simmer for 30/45 minutes. Check often and if needed add some water. Check if salt is needed and add.
Artichokes are done when pulling a leaf, it comes off easily. 
Spoon the top of each artichoke with some of the cooking liquid remaining in the pot. Serve hot or at room temperature.