Saturday, May 2, 2015

Artichokes... stuffed!

I am away from home, on holidays.
I am in my favorite place on Earth.
I am at my parents' house.

This is the valley where I come from. The food here is amazing and tastes like nothing else. All is home grown, or I can buy foods that are produced with such dedication and care, they taste like they were made especially for me.

The second day I was here, a trip to the local butcher was in order. They make their own Mortadella, Porchetta, Ham and many many more delicacies.

In the counter, under the glass, I saw it: cow's milk cheese matured in May hay... I cannot describe what I felt when the boy who was serving me gave me a tiny slice to taste it.

You may not believe it; however, it was like eating wild flowers, it was like I was able to eat a smell I remember from my infancy, from the Spring.

This cheese in particular comes from somewhere in Terni, I don't know exactly where but I will find out.

My father loves collecting wild things to bring home, this time of the year it's asparagus. They obviously look nothing like the ones we buy in the shop.

 They are thin and long, very dark at times, and I cannot see them in the woods for the life of me. The few times I tried to go and gather the asparagus, I could not see even one.
You need to divide them in tiny pieces, starting from the tip, and stopping at the point where they don't "crack" anymore. That bottom part must go.

This does not mean my mother throws it away. Here is what she does; she will place them in a tray in the little glassed room outside the kitchen.
Once dry, she will grind them all and obtain a powder to use for risotto and other dishes. Imagine, asparagus-based dishes all year round. I said it before and I will say it again: she's a genius in the kitchen.

Tonight, for dinner, we had pasta with a cream of artichoke hearts and asparagus.

My mother cooked the asparagus and the artichokes hearts in a bit of water and salt, then blended everything and, in the end, added some cream.

The pasta was really good, and very light. Artichokes are known for their detoxing properties and eating them on a regular basis helps cleanse the liver and the kidneys. Even if they didn't really clean anything, who cares? They're yummy!

Now, finally, to the title of this page: Stuffed Artichokes. I love artichokes, and since they are not to be found in Ireland, I love them even more... That's part of the emigrant's curse.

Finally, the recipe for Stuffed Artichokes.


5 Artichokes
3 Eggs
1 Dry Sausage
A Handful of Mince Meat
A Bit of Breadcrumbs
A Garlic Clove
Salt to taste

 Remove a small bit of the bottom and some of the outer leaves.

 Place them in water while preparing the stuffing.

In a bowl, place the breadcrumbs and the mince meat 
Cut the sausage lengthwise in two and then in four.

 Then cut it in small pieces and add them to the bowl.

Now add the parsley.
Some garlic, in small pieces.
 Add the first two eggs.

Mix and add the last egg.

 Push apart the artichoke leaves and start stuffing it.

 Once stuffed, place them in a pot, cover with water and a spoon of tomato passata.

On top, place some sticks to make sure the artichokes do not come afloat.
Place them on low heat and let them boil for about an hour.
And now, enjoy...

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