Baked Artichokes with Mozzarella and Spinach
Barchette di Carciofi con Mozzarella e Spinaci
Straight from the south of Italy, this is an awesome entree or side dish. Ideally served straight out of the oven and drizzled with a little olive oil. They are quite a pretty looking artichokes and the way they turn into little containers of tasty goodness is a fun feature. Here’s the recipe.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
4 large artichokes
150g / 5.3 ounces Mozzarella (diced small)
600g / 1.3lbs spinach (leaves only)
2 anchovy fillets (preferably under salt, not oil)
1 garlic clove
1 cup of vegetable stock
4 tablespoons of breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons of parmiggiano cheese (grated)
1 knob of butter(optional)
1 small handful of basil leaves (torn)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven at 180 degree C / 355 degree F.
Be sure to remove the stem from the spinach and rinse well, at least twice, to remove any dirt or grit from the leaves.
Finely shred the spinach.
Remove any excess salt from the anchovy fillets and chop finely together with the garlic. You can also use anchovies under oil.
Gently heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan and begin lightly frying the garlic and anchovy. Allow the oil to infuse with the garlic.
Then add the chopped spinach and stir well with the oil, garlic and anchovy.
Season with salt & pepper and add the torn basil leaves.
Prepare the artichokes but leave a little of the stem attached and do not cut the choke. I have also not chopped off the leaves for this one. It presents much better if you keep most of the leaves attached and its’ more fun to eat s well. You must clean the stem that’s attached to the choke by removing all the fibrous, stringy outer skin. The lemon water is not really necessary for this preparation.
Throw them into boiling salted water and remove when just tender. For large artichokes this should be about 12 – 15 minutes.
Allow them to drain well then cut them, with a serrated knife, down the middle lengthways along the stem.
Scoop out the hairy section of the choke with a teaspoon or cut it out with a sharp paring knife. This is now a container. The half artichoke will act as a base holding the cheese and spinach.
Remove the spinach from the heat and add the diced mozzarella.
Lay the artichokes out on a baking tray greased with the butter.(optional)
Now spoon in some of the spinach mixture into the cavities you’ve made in the artichokes.
Mix the grated parmiggiano and breadcrumbs together and sprinkle generously on top of the spinach and artichoke.
Pour half a cup of the stock into the tray and bake at 180 degrees c/ 355 degrees F for half an hour. Mid way through the baking check to see that there is still some stock in the tray. Add the other half up if it has evaporated. Also be sure the breadcrumbs do not blacken.
Once they are done, serve immediatley while the cheese is still melty.