Artichoke is one of the most popular vegetables in Italy, especially baby artichokes, because after being trimmed the whole leaf is edible. Before beginning the recipe, wash the artichoke and cut off the top half. Then, remove the little bracts at the stem. Cut the stem off at the point near the bottom so the artichoke can stand. Now from the top with a melon ball scooper and in a circular motion remove the inner core of whitish leaves. Next, boil the artichoke in a large pot with the juice of one lemon until the leaves can easily be pulled off and the bottom easily pierced. When this is complete, strain and cool. Finally, remove the leaves all around the base and trim the bottom into a rounded shape.
"En carrozza" literally translates to "in a carriage," artfully describing how the crispy fried crust encases - or carries - the warm, savory mélange of cheeses and vegetables within.
- 12 medium artichokes
- 2 oz grated cheese
- 1 green zucchini chopped
- 1 yellow zucchini chopped
- 1 baby eggplant
- 1 onion
- Juice of one lemon
- 4 gloves of garlic chopped
- 2 oz capers
- 2 oz black and green olive pitted
- 1 cup white wine
- 3 oz virgin olive oil
- 1 cup fresh chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs
- 1 cup marinara sauce*
- salt & pepper to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups Roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped or 1 can plum or crushed tomatoes
- 6-7 leaves fresh basil, shredded In a bowl, mix ingredients and set aside.
- (Marinara) In a large saucepan, sauté the garlic in oil over medium heat until translucent, add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cook sauce for about one hour. Add the basil, season with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over moderate heat, add the onion and garlic, cook until golden, add the zucchini, capers, olives, baby eggplant, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for five more minutes stirring frequently. Add the wine and chopped tomatoes and simmer for 5 more minutes. Allow the cooking liquid to reduce. Transfer to a large bowl, add the grated cheese and the bread crumbs, mix well, and fill the bottoms with mixture. Place the artichokes on an oven-proof platter and top with marinara sauce. Bake in a preheated 375oF oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.