ARTICHOKES STUFFED WITH SPINACH
Italian Family Dining by Edward & Eugenia Giobbi
• 4 large artichokes, tough outer leaves removed
• 1 lemon, halved
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
• 2 pounds spinach, well washed
• 4 tablespoons pignoli nuts
• 4 tablespoons diced ricotta salata
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons chopped mint
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 1/2 cup water
Heat the oven to 400°F.
Prepare the artichokes: Cut the base of the artichokes flat, so that they will sit upright. Cut the leaves down to about 2 inches above the base. Open each artichoke gently, separating the leaves to give you access to the choke. Using a spoon or knife, scrape out the choke. Rub the surface of the artichokes with the lemon halves. Squeeze the remaining juice out of the lemon into a bowl large enough to hold all 4 artichokes. Place the artichokes in the bowl, add cold water to cover, and set aside while you prepare the stuffing.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the garlic and saute for a minute. Add the spinach, cover, and cook, stirring periodically, for about 5 minutes, until the spinach wilts. Allow the spinach to cool, and then squeeze as much of the moisture out of it as you can. You can do this by pressing the spinach in your hands, or placing it in a piece of cheesecloth and twisting the cloth around the spinach until the moisture comes out.
In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, pignoli nuts, ricotta salata, the remaining garlic, the extra virgin olive oil, mint, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash together until the stuffing is well blended.
Drain the artichokes. Stuff the stuffing into the cavities. Place them in a 9- x 9-inch baking dish. They should fit snugly. Add the wine and water to the bottom of the baking dish and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and cook for about i hour, until the artichokes are tender.