Spring is here. The artichokes are at the market and they are still young and tight, absent the hairy choke they develop later in the season. I was also overjoyed this morning to see piles of fresh, sweet peas in the pod. I so rarely see them these days, but they are simply wonderful. I may have got a little carried away and bought a whole kilo of them. I will thoroughly enjoy them in a pea and saffron risotto this evening. But most importantly, I have more than enough to try the stuffed artichokes my friend told me her Nonna used to make her. They sounded simply divine, stuffed with eggy breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and peas for sweetness to balance the slight bitterness of the artichokes.
Serves 2 as a meal, or 6-8 as a side dish
|1||slice||stale Italian bread|
|250||grams||Peas in the pod, shelled|
Prepare the artichokes. Cut off the stems so they sit flat, remove the tough outer leaves and cut off the tops.
Preheat the oven to 180oC.
Blitz the stale bread in a food processor till you have breadcrumbs. Add the cheese, egg and salt and blend again. Add the peas.
Force the stuffing in between the leaves of the artichokes. This will be quite difficult, the artichoke won’t want to let you in, but you will be rewarded for your efforts once it’s baked. Arrange the artichokes in a baking tray. Place a tablespoon of water in the bottom of the baking tray and scatter any remaining stuffing over the artichokes.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or till a knife inserted into the base of the artichoke meets little resistance.
Serve several artichokes as is, or with a green salad for a vegetarian meal, or one per person as a vegetable accompaniment.