Monday, April 4, 2011

Stuffed artichokes on a bed of peas

Here I'm again doing the cooking, to propose you these delicious stuffed artichokes laid on a bed of peas. The artichoke is a plant of Mediterranean origin, with a sturdy and pronged trunk, it is a very popular vegetable and it was consumed since ancient times, it was at first consumed by Egyptian people and later by the Greeks and the Romans. It is very common in Italy, especially in the Mediterranean area, the larger crops are found in Liguria, Tuscany, Sardinia, Lazio and Puglia. There are different kinds of artichokes on the market: the round or outstreched ones; the spiny ones such as the Sardinian spiny which has a conical shape and large yellowish spines and is suitable for all cooking, or the spineless ones as the big Roman which is excellent fried or stuffed; then there are the ones in different shades of green and purple gradations, etc. There are about 90 varieties of artichokes grown worldwide and I cannot possibly list them all ... so let's move on to preparation of the recipe:
Serving size: Serves 4

Artichokes 8
Stale bread 400 g (14 oz)
Eggs 4
A clove of garlic
A srig of parsley
Parmesan or Grana like cheese to taste
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Peper or chilli powder to taste
Frozen peas 400 g (14 oz)
Tomatoes 4
Take the artichokes, remove the harder leaves and cut the leaves ends, so to leave only the tender part of the artichoke. Do not cut off the stems, just clean the outer part, saving the heart that is soft and sweet.
As they will be cleaned, open a little bit the artichokes leaves then plunge them in water acidulated with lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
Prepare the filling: Remove the artichokes heart and cut it into pieces. Grate the bread, put it in a large bowl and add the chopped artichokes heart, the eggs, the garlic, the parsley, the grated cheese, the olive oil, salt and pepper or chilli powder if you prefer. Mix everything well, until all the ingredients are perfectly blended.
Now fill the artichokes one at a time, putt the filling in the emptied center. Once you have filled them all, put a little oil in a non-stick pan and brown the artichokes lightly, only the side from where the filling has been placed (picture 4), then lean them on kitchen paper to dry excess oil. If you have some stuffing left over, make some balls and fry them... et voila!
Cut the onion into pieces and let it brown lightly in a saucepan (large enough to hold all the artichokes) with a little oil (photo 1), add the chopped tomatoes (photo 2), then add the peas (photo 3), a few more minutes and add one or two cups of boiling water, add salt to taste and the parsley. After about 5 minutes, put the artichokes in the saucepan huddled together so as to avoid them to turn over during cooking (photo 5). Cover, set the heat and simmer for half an hour, or until the peas are cooked.
Bon appetit!

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