Stuffed Artichokes Enna Style
(“ Carciofi Ripieni alla
Ennese" - "Cacocciuli Chini 'o Piacentinu”)
In the town of Enna the breadcrumbs are not used in the preparation of the stuffed artichokes.
This recipe requires the use of a local cheese, the aged Piacentinu Ennese made with sheep’s milk and with the
addition of saffron.
The legend narrates that in the eleventh century, Roger I of Altavilla, count of Sicily and Calabria, requested the
farmers making cheese for the court to invent a special cheese to give energy and help his ailing wife
The cheese makers realizing that saffron had been used for centuries as an antidepressant and energizer, added it
to the milk and they found a solution to Roger’s problem and created the new cheese from then on
Ennese. Piacentinu does not refers to the city of Piacenza,
it meanspiacente ,che
piace or pleasant.
Making the stuffed artichokes with this special cheese gives the artichokes the traditional taste of the pecorino
cheese, the pungent and aromatic flavor of the saffron and a unique delightful product balanced with gusto, and
Because the Piacentinu Ennese is not easily available outside Sicily, it is substituted with pecorino cheese and
6 artichokes trimmed for stuffing
1 cup of grated pecorino cheese
1 teaspoon of saffron threads (Crush threads before using)
½ cup of chopped parsley
6 chopped garlic cloves
1 small onion finely minced
½ cup of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
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
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 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
In a bowl combine the cheese, parsley, garlic, and onion and mix well.
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.
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.
Place the stuffed artichokes in a pot, close together; 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 lemon
after squeezing a few drops of juice to the pot; also add a teaspoon of salt and drizzle the olive oil on top of
Bring pot to a boil and simmer for 30/45 minutes. Check often and if needed add some water. Check if salt is needed
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
If you want to give an extra zest, sauté a few cloves of sliced garlic and some parsley in three tablespoon of
olive oil, drizzle over the artichokes before serving.