Whole braised artichokes

Whole braised artichokes

Carciofi ritti

By
From
Florentine
Serves
4
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

Carciofiritti (named for the way they are cooked ‘standing up’) are plump, melting, whole stuffed artichokes, cooked in a simple Tuscan manner until you can cut them like butter. It’s the sort of dish you’ll find at the height of artichoke season in the most Florentine of trattorie. Artusi even includes carciofiritti amongst his 790 recipes but his version is much simpler, with the artichokes simply stuffed with the stalks and seasoned with salt, pepper and good oil.

These artichokes make a very good side dish to accompany a roast but are equally good on their own as a light meal with some good bread and extra-virgin olive oil (in this case, you may like to double the recipe to have two artichokes per person).

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 lemon, halved
4 whole artichokes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 pancetta slices, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 french shallot or small onion, finely chopped
1 handful celery leaves, finely chopped
150ml white wine, (or water or vegetable stock)
2-3 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, chopped

Method

  1. Prepare a bowl of cold water with half a lemon squeezed into it – this is to make sure the artichoke does not oxidise or blacken. Clean the artichokes by trimming the stems as close to the artichoke as possible so you have completely flat bottoms (keep these aside and finely chop) and removing the hard, outer leaves until you arrive at a layer of tender leaves, pale in colour. Don’t be alarmed if this has drastically reduced the size of your artichoke!
  2. Chop the top half of the artichokes off completely and with a teaspoon remove the fluffy inside, if present (if they’re younger, tender artichokes there may not be any need to do this). Rub the cut part of the artichokes with half a lemon and place in the bowl of lemon water.
  3. Pour the olive oil into a frying pan and place over a low–medium heat. Gently cook the pancetta, garlic, shallot and celery leaves, along with the finely chopped stems of the artichokes, until the vegetables are soft, but not coloured, and the fat of the pancetta has melted.
  4. Gently tease open the leaves of the artichokes from the centre. Arrange the artichokes, cut side up. This is usually done in an appropriately-sized frying pan so they are sitting tightly together and therfore remain upright. Spoon the pancetta filling over the centre of each artichoke and pour enough white wine into the pan to reach about halfway up the artichokes. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, over a low heat for about 30 minutes or until the artichokes are soft. Test by poking a knife into the side – it should slide in as easily as if the artichoke were made of butter.
  5. Serve with some freshly chopped parsley scattered over the top.
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