Do you have a favorite season of the year? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited that artichokes are back in season.
In late February, I’m so happy when I start to find the carciofo romanesco into the farmer’s markets. The typical Roman artichoke called mammola or mamma (mama) also, enters right now its pick season. You know, I’m referring to the beautiful Italian Spring, a special food season for all the produces!
Eating in-season vegetables isn’t only delicious but cheaper and means a higher nutritional value.
But did you ever taste mama artichokes?
First of all, did you know that half of the world’s artichoke production comes from Italy? One of the reasons is the high quality artichoke varieties grown in various Italian regions.
Artichokes are classified in two main categories: purple and thorny.
While they may look a little intimidating, the artichoke is an unique vegetable, versatile enough for a variety of dishes. Especially, I love mama because it’s a thorny variety perfect for cooking. On the contrary, there are artichokes that are perfect to be eaten raw.
So, you know, before to buy artichokes, you have to chose the right quality for your recipe.
Anyway, I think it’s always possible to eat a little Italian but with local ingredients. So, find your own local and fresh artichokes, even if they aren’t mamas, to make a perfect Italian savory tart or something else.
I just added fresh mascarpone to the vegetables. Nothing else.
This savory mama artichoke tart could work for most any occasion: it’s portable for a picnic. And it’s elegant enough for the Holiday table. For instance for the Easter!
Buona cucina, Monica
For this recipe, I’ve chosen an Italian artichoke variety called mama (mamma or mammole in Italian. You can choose among your own local varieties. The important thing to remember, choose a kind of artichoke that is suitable to be cooked.
Use the artichoke stems to make a delicious paté. Cook them in boiling water, or together, with the hearts. They need a longer cooking time than hearts, cook them until very soft. Blend with olive oil, fine salt and some milk until it will be a creamy paté. I love it spread on the bread.
serves 4-6, for a 15 cm diameter mold
1 roll of puff pastry, 150g
about 4 big artichoke’s hearts, raw
fresh mascarpone cheese, 100g
extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper
cloves of garlic, 2
fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano, 4g
Clean the artichokes and slice into medium wedges.
Place in a non-stick pan with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic (peeled) and add enough water so that they are almost covered (but not completely) and cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, covered, or until the artichokes are soft.
Remove the garlic and let the artichokes cool until lukewarm. Set aside.
Roll out the pastry on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (dampen and squeeze out the excess water) and cover with a thin layer of fresh mascarpone, covered with cooked artichokes.
Sprinkle with fresh grated parmigiano reggiano.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 12 minutes at 180C degrees.
It will be even better the next day!
If you’ve never cooked artichokes before, I would recommend asking for guidance from your grocer on which local variety to buy. Maybe, might be of some help to you read the following food tips to find the right artichokes variety.
Artichokes “family” is so rich in variety! HERE: Artichokes Varieties
Are you looking for other savory tart recipes? Look HERE!
Articolo disponibile anche in Ita