Stuffed Artichokes

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I made these artichokes the first time we bought local artichokes at the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market.**  They were absolutely delicious.  Makes a fabulous first course followed by a second course of pasta, with fresh fruit for dessert.

Makes 4 Servings

4 globe artichokes
Juice of 1 – 2 lemons
2 links Italian sweet sausage, the ones with fennel
removed from their casings & crumbled
1/3 cup EVOO
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 cups day old Italian bread (crusts trimmed & cut into 1/4 “ cubes)
2 Tbsp. pine nuts (I think the Mediterranean ones are better tasting that the Chinese ones; they do
not have a bitter aftertaste. They can be pricey, so I often substitute slivered almonds)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
(opt.) you can omit the sausage to make this a vegetarian dish

To prepare the artichokes:

Fill a large bowl with cold water & squeeze in the juice from the lemons.
Trim off the stems, remove small leaves from the base. Lay artichoke on it’s side; slice off the tip; about 1” from the top. Using scissors, trim off prickly tips of remaining leaves. Place the artichokes in the lemon water as each is trimmed. This prevents darkening of the artichokes.
Place the artichokes in a saucepan small enough to hold them snugly. Add water to cover and ½ tsp. salt; cover and cook until tender, about 20 – 25 minutes, checking after 10 – 12 minutes, or until a leaf can be pulled out easily. Drain; cool until lukewarm. Remove the choke from the artichoke by spreading the centre leaves; reach into the center and pull out the purple tipped prickly leaves. Using a small spoon, scoop out the fuzzy part from the heart. Set aside.

To make stuffing:

Brown the sausage; set aside. Heat EVOO add bread cubes, pine nuts or almonds and cook; stirring, until bread is golden, about 5 minutes. Just before the bread cubes are done, add the garlic. Return the sausage to the pan; remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Coat a small deep baking dish with EVOO. Spread the leaves from the centre of the artichoke, creating an opening for the stuffing. Lightly spoon the stuffing into the cavities. If there is some stuffing remaining, you can place it in the larger leaves. Sprinkle the Parmigiano on each artichoke; add 3 Tbsp. of water to the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 15 minutes. Uncover & bake until cheese is slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

**If you would like to buy local artichokes, please go to My Source List.

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