I think I’ve just found one of the sexiest vegetables to cook with (before you say anything, who said vegetables can’t be sexy?) I admit, it can be a bit fiddly to prepare, especially the first time you’re trying to take out the hairy choke out of the artichoke. But it’s worth it.
And I just so loved it in front of the camera! A true vegetable model!


Makes a great starter for a romantic dinner for two. I served both on one long plate and we sat next to each other, peeling off the leaves with fingers, before reaching the delicious artichoke heart and the filling. Admittedly, it did get a bit messy, but I though it made it even more fun (I’ll master the official etiquette for eating artichoke on another occasion).


No wonder artichokes are said to be aphrodisiac. They look and taste so well, and are great fun to eat too, especially in the right company.

ingredients

Serves 2
2 globe artichokes
2 lemons
125g ricotta cheese
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 yolk
50ml / 0.25 cup rapeseed oil
Pinch of saffron
1 onion, chopped
30ml / 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 200 C / gas mark 6.



Start by preparing the artichokes: remove all the tough outer leaves and then, with a very sharp knife, cut off the top of the artichoke (about 2cm) to remove the sharp tips. Trim the remaining leaves with scissors. Cut off the stem to make a flat base. With your fingers open the centre of the artichoke and using a teaspoon or melon spoon, scoop out the hairy choke, but be careful not to remove the heart. Put the artichokes in a large bowl full of water with lemon juice of one of the lemons so they do not turn brown.



To prepare the tomato base, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onion and cook for 3 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes and cook for about 10 minutes. Then add the basil leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a food processor and mix to a smooth sauce. (Mixing is optional – you might leave this step out if you prefer a chunky sauce.)



In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice and lemon zest of one lemon, oil, and garlic. Add the ricotta cheese, egg yolk and saffron strands and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the ricotta mixture into the centre of the artichokes. Put the tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the stuffed artichokes on top of it.



Bake the artichokes for about 45 minutes, until they start to brown.


Serve warm.


Bon appétit!
Lena x

Baked artichoke globes with ricotta filling in tomato sauce
Baked artichoke globes with ricotta filling in tomato sauce




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