Artichokes with Cheese

Everyone should have a favorite food that they indulge in every once in a while. Mine is the artichoke. You’ve got to wonder who the first man or woman was to pick up an artichoke and think, “This looks like it would be good to eat.” But whoever that person was, thank you. Ever since I was a little girl I have loved steamed artichokes with lemon butter. So when I came across this recipe and saw the words “artichoke” and “cheese” (arguably my other favorite food), I knew I had to try this.

I found the recipe in The Silver Spoon, which is the self-proclaimed “bible of authentic Italian cooking.” It is a mammoth of a cookbook, but I love how the recipes have few ingredients and the instructions are short and sweet. For people like me, who generally need extremely detailed instructions, these recipes can be intimidating. But I think that they encourage experimentation and allow you to build confidence in your cooking. Fear not though, this recipe really is simple. And for those of you who love artichokes, treat yo self.

Artichokes with Cheese, Carciofi al formaggio

  • 8 globe artichokes*
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • Pinch of curry powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cups Swiss cheese, finely grated
  • 1 egg, separated
  • Leaves from 1 fresh thyme sprig

*I only made 4 artichokes, but I made all the cheese filling since I wasn’t sure how to split 1 egg. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with more cheese…

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an ovenproof dish with parchment paper. Steam the artichokes for 10 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, heat the milk to a simmer, careful not to boil it, and remove from the heat. In another pan, melt the butter over low heat and gradually whisk in the flour. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is lightly browned. Then, stir in the milk and add the saffron, curry, and salt. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the cheese, egg yolk, and thyme.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg white until stiff. Fold the egg white into the cheese mixture. Next, fill the artichokes with cheese. This process is a bit messy and not very exact. I spooned a little bit of cheese at a time, on top of the artichoke, then pushed it between the leaves. Arrange the artichokes in the prepared dish and bake for 30 minutes. Let the artichokes cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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