February 17, 2014


It seems like Spring has arrived in Tuscany. The hills are green, in my garden the violets are already blooming and my roses never stopped blooming all winter.

The foto is from the hillside near my home, a new farmer has started raising goats and soon will be producing goat cheese. I can't wait. 

Last year I planted 10 asparagus plants and they say to not harvest any the first year, so i just harvested my first asparagus this year, a pencil thin tiny one.

I adore the spring markets and today bought some large artichokes called mamme. These are more like the thick-leafed artichokes I grew up eating boiled. Here we remove all the thick outer leaves and cut off the tough tips. I used an old recipe calle Carciofi Ritti, which means cooked "standing up".

I took the opportunity to use one of the new clay pots I bought on my research trip to Puglia. It was perfect!

These artichokes had no choke, I stuffed them with chopped parsley and garlic and they are braised in oil and water with salt and pepper.

They are sold with their stems, which are just an extension of the heart, so they are often left on the artichoke, peeled and eaten. 

Carciofi Ritti

Remove the tough outer leaves from the artichoke. any touch leaves left on will make it harder to eat later.
Cut off the top third of the articoke.
Remove the tough skin from the stem.

Fill the center of the artichoke with chopped parsley, minced garlic, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Place cut side down in a large pot.
Add 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil and 1 cup of water. Season the cooking liquid with salt and pepper, add any left over parsley to the pan.

Cover and cook until the artichokes are tender, about 20 minutes.

You can easily recreate the flavors of this recipe using other artichokes or even frozen artichoke hearts. If you have access to fresh artichokes, look at the photos on my website for how to prepare the artichokes or use the whole artichoke hearts without the leaves to stew, in Venice you can buy the cleaned whole hearts. 


  1. What beautiful photos-they are so simple and aer all about the food. I like that. I am thinking that Spring 2014 needs to be my "Artichoke Spring." I need to learn how to cook them. It's pretty embarrassing that I know zilch.

  2. It is a informative post , thanks for sharing

  3. That first photo of countryside is stunning and frame-worthy!

  4. Thanks @joan nova-- i am now posting my instagram fotos on TWENTY20 where you can order the foto in many formats!