Artichoke bottoms stuffed with spinach and walnut puree

Yield: 4 Servings

Measure Ingredient
8 mediums Artichokes
1 \N Lemon; halved
2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium Onion; minced
1 pounds Spniach; washed and drained
½ cup Shelled walnuts; finely chopped
¼ cup Heavy cream; *see note
\N \N Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons Vegetable broth
\N \N OR dark beer

1. Peel artichokes*: break off each leaf at the base (bend the leaf back on itself until it snaps, then pull it off towards the base). When most of the outer leaves have been peeled off and the remaining leaves no longer snap, cut off the rest of the cone and rub the cut portions with the lemon to prevent discoloration.

2. Using a sharp paring knife, trim off all bits of green to expose the more tender white part of the artichoke bottom. Rub with the lemon.

3. Place the artichoke bottoms in a saucepan with the lemon juice and enough water to cover. Simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes or until the artichoke bottoms are tender when pierced wlth a knife. Cool in liquid and reserve.

4. Heat the oil in a skillet over low heat. Saute tht onion until lightly browned. Add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted.

5. Place the spinach, walnuts, and cream in a food processor and puree.

Season with salt and pepper.

6. Remove the artichoke bottoms from their liquid. Rinse under cold water and remove the choke with a spoon. When finished, you should have 2 perfectly rounded, hollowed-out cups per serving.

7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill the artichoke bottoms with spinach cream. Place in a glass baking dish large enough to hold all the bottoms in one layer. Drizzle with the broth or beer, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 25 minutes, basting occasionally. Just before serving, douse with the remaining liquid from the bottom of the pan.

SERVES 4 in 2 hrs of moderately difficult preparation. Serve as an appetizer; or serve with a pasta entree: spaghetti with oil and garlic sauce and lemon; as part of a buffet.

MAKE AHEAD: The artichoke bottoms will keeps refrigerated in their cooking liquid for 1 to 2 days.

*TIP: Using this method instead of cutting off the leaves with a knife will result in a meatier artichoke bottom.

*LOWFAT CREAMS (thin as needed): lowfat or nonfat sour cream; sour cream substitutes; soy cream; lowfat or nonfat yogurt; ricotta; pureed lowfat or nonfat cottage cheese with skim milk; "creamed" tofu; nonfat cream (new product 1997).

>"Il Fondo dei di Carciofi Ripiene di Spinaci," from SOLO VERDURA, by Anne Bianchi (Ecco, 1997). >Edited by Pat Hanneman 3/98 Puree of spinach, walnuts, and cream as a filling for prepared bottoms and cooked until the flavors blend. The leaves may be used to flavor a soup or a marinara sauce. Or puree the tender parts of the leaves and use them instead of the spinach in this recipe.

Recipe by: SOLO VERDURA, by Anne Bianchi Posted to MC-Recipe Digest by KitPATh <phannema@...> on Mar 21, 1998

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