Stuffed! By Prezza’s Artichoke Royalty

Prezza Artichoke Festival

There is nothing that the ladies of Prezza including the mayor Marianna Scoccia cannot tell you about their famous artichokes; their particular favourites are stuffed ever so simply with breadcrumbs, without cheese or anything to detour your taste buds from the town’s compact sweet artichokes or their velvety crema that is superb on bruschetta or slipped into lasagne or ravioli for a healthy meat-free pasta feast.

Prezza Artichoke FestivalPrezza’s Artichoke & Olive Oil Sagra celebrates the artichokes that grow on just one side of this small fortified town that sits on a spur of the Sirente.  In times gone by artichokes were the staple that many families depended on to survive.  This affected some of the older members of the community as children, yet all the ladies still have the enthusiasm to don the gloves that counter the black hands that artichokes can produce and positively revel in prep for the artichoke sagra.

Tenacious and hardy, Prezza’s artichoke is able to endure the chill and snows that winter brings to the town and in the summer the evenings welcome fresh breezes which gust down from the crown of the mountain.  Unlike their better-known big fat globe cousins or even Abruzzo’s other famous artichoke the Cupello, these are small, their width being under  5 cm (2″) with lighter coloured leaves that are tender and without a hint of bitterness.

The artichokes are popular right across the Peligna Valley where Prezza nestles between Corfinio where the name ‘Italia’ was first established and Sulmona so if you miss the sagra you’ll still be able to find the artichokes stocked in many of the local food shops and restaurants.  It’s really worth a visit for its vistas, people and rather amazing butcher shop. Chef Ezio Gentile of Ciao Abruzzo decamps back to his family home here each summer and utilises the lovely local ladies for a couple of days to teach guests 1 0r 2 of the recipes that have been handed down across the generations on his food adventures based in local Sulmona.

Abruzzo’s Michelin chef Niko Romito recommends serving artichokes with rosemary and burrata or guanciale – see what you can create!

Prezzani Stuffed Artichokes

Mimina the Butcher's Wife
Prezza's simple but delicious stuffed artichokes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Antipasti
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 8 Artichokes
  • 8 Slices of Stale Bread
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 tbsp Parsley
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 150 ml Olive Oil
  • 100 ml Water

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F
  • Add your bread, salt and pepper, garlic and parsley into a food blender and pulse until a fine breadcrumb mixture.
  • Clean the artichokes, remove the hard leaves, remove the choke and trim.
  • Cut the stems off so that they are able to stand up and place close together in a roasting pan so that during cooking the filling won't fall out.
  • Open the artichokes up with your index finger and fill with the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle 50 ml of olive oil over the top of the artichokes.
  • Mix the remaining oil into the water and pour into the bottom of the roasting pan
  • Cover tightly with foil and roast
  • Cook slowly for 40 minutes.
  • Use a fork to check their softness and plate.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

Sam Dunham
Author: Sam Dunham

Sam is a very lucky midlife 'mamma' to A who is 12 and juggles her work as a self-employed freelance SEO food and travel copywriter and EFL teacher. She is the founder of the Life In Abruzzo Cultural Association, co-founder of Let's Blog Abruzzo. she is the founder of the 'English in the Woods' initiative, teaching English outdoors in a forest style school.


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Italian Cooking Holiday
12 May 2017 12:23

I can taste them now!

Life in Abruzzo
12 May 2017 12:31

They were wonderful, something that everyone should get to try if within the area

Maria Nemett
12 May 2017 19:16

Bravo! Prezza, L’Aquila, Abruzzo! xo xo

Ezio Gentile
12 May 2017 20:03
Reply to  Maria Nemett

Thank you

Life in Abruzzo
12 May 2017 21:27
Reply to  Maria Nemett

It’s a great town, I so enjoyed my stay there last year!

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