Roman-style Artichokes are braised artichokes seasoned with a blend of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and mint. They are cooked upside down in a pot at low heat with olive oil and water until the steam cooks all the way into the artichoke heart. In Italian, they are called carciofi alla romana, which means roman style artichokes. They can be served as a starter or a side dish to meat.
The Roman climate is particularly favorable for growing this vegetable, which you will find in abundance at the Roman markets.
Fresh artichokes are widely used in Roman cuisine, even in ancient Rome during the Roman Empire.
You can find artichokes in many recipes, from meat stews, in torte salate or fried.
A well-known artichoke alla Romana is Carciofi alla Giudia, Jewish-style artichokes, which are fried artichokes that originated from the Jewish ghetto.
The type of artichoke used in this recipe is called "mammola".
These large globe artichokes are round-headed, less spiky, and more tender than a regular ones.
You can recognize it from its purple color.
It has tough outer leaves ad a tender heart. You need to use the whole artichokes
The other ingredients you need for this recipe are:
- Lemon juice to make the acidulated water
- Fresh mint: in Rome, we use a special mint called Metuccia. The leaves are small and the flavor is more intense
- Garlic cloves
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
How to clean an artichoke
Cleaning an artichoke can be intimidating, but it shouldn't be. It is not difficult.
However, it is best to use gloves as artichokes stain:
- First, remove the tougher outer leaves, until the yellow flesh appears.
- Then remove all the dark green tops of the artichokes, which have no meat, and end with spikes.
- Last, you peel off the outer layer of the stem
- Immediately immerse the artichokes in a bowl of lemon water, otherwise, they will turn black
Seasoning the artichokes
- In a blender, prepare the filling by mixing garlic, mint, 2 tablespoon of olive oil and salt
- Stuff the artichokes pushing the mixture of garlic and mint between the leaves all the way to the center of each artichoke
- Pour 2 tablespoon of olive oil into the base of the pan
- Arrange the artichokes upside down with the long stems upward
- Add enough water to cover the artichokes only halfway and sprinkle with salt.
N.B: If you are cooking them in a regular pan, cover them with water up to the base of the stem
- Cook for 3 minutes in the pressure cooker.
N.B.: In a normal pan, cook for 30 minutes
- Arrange the artichokes on a plate, collect the juices in a small bowl and serve
How to eat them
To eat it, remove the outer leaves of the artichoke.
Dip the base of the leaf (the wider, rounded end) into the juices you are serving in the small bowl
Place the end of the leaf between your teeth, close your lips, and gently pull the leaf out, scraping off the tender edible portion with your teeth.
Discard the remaining fibrous part of the leaf.
You will have more fleshy and tender leaves as you progress toward the center.
When you reach the heavy spiky inner choke, remove the hairy choke and eat the tender heart.
What to serve with Roman artichoke
I always had Roman artichokes as a starter. It is so flavorful that it can easily stand a serving by itself.
Personally I wouldn't serve it with fish as it would overtake the taste.
Cooking artichokes in a pressure cooker
Cooking artichokes in a pressure cooker is an easy way to have the most tender and flavorful artichokes in under 5 minutes.
Artichokes can be boiled or steamed, personally, I prefer steaming them as boiling can make them very watery.
If they are cooked whole, they need to cook for a long time, at least 30 minutes.
However, in a pressure cooker, it only takes 3 minutes.
In addition, the pressure of the steam retains the flesh's flavor and rapidly softens any hard part of the artichoke. It infuses the flavor of the herb mixture in the center of the artichoke, even in the stems.
Other Artichokes you can use
The artichokes I used in the video below are not typical Roman artichokes, but an offer tempted me, and I couldn't resist.
An Italian truck was parked on the side of the road with a large sign:
"10 kilos of artichokes for € 5"
I had to buy them!
It doesn't matter if they are not large and meaty artichokes, as long as they are tender inside.
Different types of artichokes can be distinguished by the presence or absence of thorns and their color, ranging from green to gray or violet.
The well-known thorny varieties include Ligurian and Palermo greens, as well as Chioggia, Venice, and Sardinian violets.
Additionally, Tuscany offers a purplish variety with thorns.
History of Artichokes in Italy
The artichoke, originally from the Middle East, has a rich history dating back to ancient times.
The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used the wild artichoke medicinally and in cooking.
The cultivation of the artichoke as we know it today, was introduced to Europe by the Arabs in the 14th century, and it gradually gained popularity.
During the 16th century, the artichoke became a sought-after vegetable at the table of the most affluent Italians.
By the Renaissance, it appeared in paintings and cooking treatises.
Despite initial skepticism, the artichoke triumphed and became highly regarded for its culinary value, nutritional benefits, and even slight aphrodisiac properties.
Its enduring appeal and versatile use continue to make it a beloved ingredient.
More artichokes recipes
If you like artichokes, you can find more delicious recipes on the blog:
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📋Roman-style Artichokes Recipe (Carciofi alla Romana)
Clean the artichoke
- First, remove the hard external leaves6 artichokes
- Cut the top spikes of the artichoke
- Peel the green part of the stem
- Immediately immerse them in water and lemon otherwise they will get dark
Prepare the filling
- In a blender prepare the filling by mixing garlic, mint, 2 tablespoon of olive oil and salt2 cloves peeled garlic cloves, 4 mint leaves, 2 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoon olive oil
- Stuff the artichokes pushing the filling all the way between the leaves
- Pour 2 tablespoon of olive oil into the pressure cooker
- Arrange the artichokes upside down in the pressure cooker
- Add 1 cup of water and more salt. If you are cooking them in a normal pan, cover with water up to the base of the stem
- Cook for 3 minutes in the pressure cooker, in a normal pan cook for 30 minutes
- Arrange on a plate and serve