May 13 2019

Artichoke Patties

 

Artichoke patties are an excellent alternative to meat patties, which will surely be appreciated even by the non vegetarian.  

For 30 patties

  • 3 big artichokes
  • 350 gr ricotta cheese
  • 100 gr parmesan, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 40 gr bread crumbs
  • zest of 1 organic lemon + the juice for cleaning the artichokes
  • 40 gr shelled walnuts, coarsely crushed
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

for the sauce:

  • 250 ml Kefir
  • the smallest pinch of saffron

Clean and finely slice the artichokes. (see http://www.lagrandemela.info/en/flan-di-carciofi/)

Place the oil and garlic (cloves halved) in a large pan and gently fry until golden, then remove from the pan and add the artichokes. Sautée for 2-3 minutes and pour in the hot vegetable stock. Cover with a lid and let cook over low heat for 10 minutes, until the stock has evaporated and the artichokes are very tender.

Place the artichokes on a board and chop using a knife.

In a bowl pop in the artichokes, ricotta cheese, parmesan, nutmeg, parsley, mint, lemon zest and walnuts. Mix well and if the mixture becomes too soft add the bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the patties using your hands, roll into the bread crumbs and place on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Spray with some oil and bake in the oven, still, at 200°C for 20/25 minutes, until golden and cooked through. If you prefer, you can fry the patties in hot oil.

Serve with some good Kefir seasoned with salt and the smallest bit of saffron.

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Posted in Recipes, Light recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
Mar 11 2019

Artichoke Flan

I am pretty sure you will love this artichoke flan: artichokes are in season, the recipe is easy and the flan can be made the day before. You will just have to warm it a little before serving and decorate it according to your taste.

Serves 8

  • 750 ml fresh whole milk
  • 4 free range eggs
  • 100 gr plain flour
  • 80 gr butter
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 3 large artichokes
  • 1 small onion, thinly chopped
  • 4 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1 lemon

Clean and trim the artichokes (if you are wondering how, look at this good video tutorial https://www.finecooking.com/article/how-to-trim-artichokes), halve and reduce to thin slices. Place the slices in cold water and juice from 1 lemon as you go along so they don’t darken in colour.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, then add the chopped onion and fry until tender. Add the artichokes, cover the pan with a lid, and let cook for 10 minutes. At this point remove the lid and let the juice almost completely dry.

For the béchamel: melt butter slowly in a saucepan, stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Turn down the heat and slowly pour in the milk, while accurately whisking. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and season well with salt and pepper. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, parmesan and the artichokes and stir well. Set aside.

Whisk  the eggs whites until they form soft peaks or until stiff and glossy and combine with the artichoke mixture using a spatula, so that the fluffy egg whites you have thoroughly worked won’t be damaged. Wash, dry and chop the basil leaves by hand, and add to the mixture. Do not use scissors to cut herbs, or they will turn sour and loose flavour together with their essential oils.

Grease a tin with butter, dust with some flour and remove the excess. Pour in the artichoke mix, level the surface and beat the bottom of the tin on a hard surface in order to eliminate possible bubbles. Bake at 180°C, still, for 45 minutes. When ready, turn the flan over while still lukewarm- gently moving a knife between the flan and the tin first if needed- or it will irreparably stick to the tin. In case it unluckily happens, you can fix the tragedy by warming up the flan over a very low heat for a couple of minutes and trying again.

 

 

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Posted in Recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
Jan 27 2019

Tempeh with Artichokes

Tempeh is the result of a process of fermentation of yellow soya beans. Very important in the vegan cuisine, tempeh is a healthy and proteic food which can well substitute meat, specially when served together with sauces, vegetables and dips. In this case, I am suggesting a recipe which mimics more than vaguely a classic Italian dish, stew with artichokes.

Serves 4

  • 300 gr tempeh
  • 2 large artichokes
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder

Clean and trim the artichokes (if you are wondering how, look at this good video tutorial https://www.finecooking.com/article/how-to-trim-artichokes), halve and reduce to thin slices, in the meantime keeping them in cold water acidulated with the lemon juice so that they don’t turn black.

Let the onion simmer with 2 tbsp extravirgin olive oil and a little water until white but tender, add the artichokes, cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and brown off.

Add the parsley and salt to taste. Cube the tempeh and marinate with the soya sauce and chilli powder for 10 minutes.

Sautée the  tempeh in a clean pan with 1 tbsp extravirgin olive oil,  mix with the artichokes and serve hot.

 

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Mar 26 2016

Ottolenghi Style Artichoke Gratin

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This recipe is inspired from an Ottolenghi recipe book. I have adapted the recipe to my liking, as instead of boiling artichokes, I prefer to sauté them. By frying them with the onion directly, they acquire more flavour and aroma, as well as preserving a good consistency. I reduced the quantity of lemon zest as well in order to maintain the peculiar flavour of the artichoke. 

Serves 8

  • 6 big globe artichokes
  • Zest of 2 large lemons, grated
  • 2 medium onion
  • 6 tbsp extravirgin olive oil
  • 200 gr ricotta cheese
  • 3 tbsp chopped parseley
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mixed herbes (thyme, oregano, marjoran)
  • 50 gr Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 75 gr butter
  • 75 gr plain flour
  • 600 ml fresh milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or hot water

Finely chop the onion and clean the artichokes: peel off the outer leaves, which are the hardest, cut off 1 cm at the top, refine the stems and halve them. If the artichoke hearts have some hairs in them, pull them off using a sharp knife. Now quarter the halves and place in cold water with lemon juice, so that they don’t brown.

In a large saucepan stir the onion and oil, cook slowly until soft, and toss in the artichokes. Leave them to cook on a low heat until very soft, adding in vegetable broth as needed (it may be that you won’t need a whole  cup of vegetable broth, as artichokes quality may vary; by the end your artichokes should be tender and dry). Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Finely chop the lemon zest and herbs and add to the artichokes.

carciofialgratin

For the béchamel: melt butter, stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Turn down the heat and slowly pour in the milk, while accurately whisking. Cook, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and season well with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Mix the béchamel with the artichokes and pour in a tin greased with butter or oil.

 

carciofialgratin-001Now that the artichoke and béchamel mixture is in the tin, carve small holes on the surface with a spoon (or your hands!) and drop a tbsp of ricotta into each hole. Now, scatter the grated parmesan on top and bake at 180° until golden and crispy. Serve immediately and enjoy!

IMG_8879

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Posted in Starters, Sides, Recipes, Main dishes, Vegetarian
Apr 15 2015

Sicilian frittella

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This dish is a delicate yet vigorous mix of the best vegetables the orchard produces in this time of the year. Together with the last artichokes, in fact, you can buy the first tender beans and fava beans. A touch of sweet and sour will complete the recipe, giving it an original, intriguing Sicilian flavour.

Serves 4/6

  • 2 large artichokes
  • 1 lemon
  • 250 gr shelled fava beans
  • 125 gr shelled green peas
  • 2 medium shallots
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp white caster sugar
  • 1 bunch fresh mint

Finely chop shallots and clean artichokes: peel off the outer leaves, which are the hardest, cut off 1 cm at the top, refine the stems and halve them. If the artichoke hearts have some hairs in them, pull them off using a sharp knife. Now quarter the halves, repeat the operation so to have 8 slices per artichoke, and place in cold water with lemon juice, so that they don’t brown.

In a large saucepan stir the shallots and olive oil, cooking slowly until soft.

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Finally toss in the artichokes. Leave them to cook on a low-medium heat for 5 minutes,  pouring in some water, and cover the pan. Then add in the green peas and fava beans, mix well and cook over low heat for around 20 minute. Every now and then add some water to keep the vegetables soft and make sure they have enough humidity.

IMG_5585

At the end you should have tender vegetables and an almost liquid sauce; add the vinegar with the sugar, mix well and  leave it to thicken for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the vegetable mix and stir. Complete with fresh mint and serve the day after at room temperature.

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