Saturday, June 21, 2008

guest blog : mom's artichokes & arrabiata.

My mom came to stay with us a couple of weeks ago and ended up cooking a wonderful meal of two foods I remember with great fondness from living at home: stuffed artichokes and pasta with arrabiata sauce (which she has recently perfected). I took some pictures and asked her to share the recipes, which she kindly has contributed. Thanks mom!

(photo by me)

"My Italian nonie used to make these every Sunday. They are very filling, but she would serve them as an appetizer, followed by a large meal of pasta, meatballs, sausage, and whatever else she decided to cook that day. To this day, I can’t get enough of artichokes and often enjoy it as a meal. She would never serve hers with mayonnaise, just the olive oil and garlic that she cooked it with."

Stuffed Artichokes


1 artichoke per person
Stale bread (preferably Italian or French) *About 2 pieces per artichoke, broken up
Stem from artichoke, peeled and chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
Fresh parsley
Parmesan or Romano cheese, lots of it
Olive oil


Wash and and cut off tops of the artichokes, about ½ inch across to get rid of the prickly ends, and cut stem off and save.
Put all other ingredients in bowl and drizzle with enough olive oil to moisten. Add tablespoons of water as needed to moisten. Stir all together.
Turn artichokes upside down on flat surface and press down gently with a rocking motion. This will open up the leaves. Turn over; pull leaves gently apart to form a bowl-shaped area to stuff, and stuff.
In a large pan, cover bottom with olive oil and brown 2-3 cloves of garlic. Let cool, add one cup of water to oil and put artichoke(s) in pan. Bring to a boil, and then turn heat to medium and cover. Artichokes will steam in pan, but be sure to check every 15-20 minutes to be sure water has not evaporated. Keep adding water as needed. Cook for one hour. Artichoke leave should pull off easily when done.

Serve with melted butter or oil and garlic. *I recently served an artichoke on a beautiful plate with olive oil dotted with Balsamic vinegar and sprinkled with pepper, and a scoop of mayonnaise whipped with some horseradish. It was wonderful!

"I really do enjoy a good arribiata, or “angry” sauce. The problem I had was trying to make it hot, or angry enough. I accidentally found the answer a few years back. My husband had a bottle of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce for his Asian recipes. As I was making my arribiata using crushed red pepper flakes, I kept tasting it and just could not get it hot enough. I grabbed the chili sauce and gave it a couple of squirts. It was just perfect."

Arrabiata Sauce (or "Angry Sauce")


Two 28 oz. cans of crushed tomatoes (My nonie crushed and bottled her own tomatoes. I stick to really good imported tomatoes in the can, crushed with added puree, but feel free to peel, seed and crush your own fresh ones)
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped fine
Fresh basil
Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce


Drizzle olive oil in a large pot, enough to cover the bottom, and lightly brown garlic and onions (don’t burn). Let cool, and add crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer and add some fresh chopped basil and salt to taste. Add chili sauce to taste. Usually two good squirts is enough to make the sauce hot enough. Cook for about 30 minutes.

Make pasta of your choice. Penne or Rigatoni is great with this sauce. Put pasta in bowl, toss with sauce and sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese.


Thea Coughlin said...

ooooooh those artichokes look delish beyond reason. I must try that recipe.

Just discovered this blog and I love it!

house and home said...

I've never thought about making a "hot" tomato pasta. Yum! Im gonna try this next week. Thanks!