This post was scheduled for last weekend. And today’s plan was to share with you an Italian recipe called castagnole. It’s a sweet fried treat typically made during carnival. But, apparently plans don’t always work out. I am slowly recovering from some stomach issues that hit me all of a sudden. Which forced me to go on an immediate special diet. Sure, I could have still made that carnival treat. The problem is though, they are just so yummy!! I couldn’t have handled making them and not be able to eat them. And who says that I need to wait for next carnival, right? I might make them one of these days, and make it up for this missed opportunity ;) What about castagnole for Easter?? Possible.
Meanwhile, let me tell you what I prepared last weekend. It was dedicated to one of my most favorite veggies! I absolutely love love love artichokes!! I have probably already mentioned this in my previous posts. This is the time of the year where we can find the Sicilian ones. Oh, I could eat them year-round! Unfortunately, the season doesn’t last long. If we get to buy them until Easter, we are actually lucky. So you can imagine what happens when the time of a produce is scarce or limited.. I turn into an artichoke addict. As if I tried to fill up my “reserves” for the artichoke-free season hibernation period..
Most of the time we eat them roasted, as a frittata with eggs or with pasta. As much as I like quiche I thought I could give it a twist this time. I mean, why not create one single dish out of two of my favorites? Don’t they sound, look and taste like a great team? And while I am still so proud of myself now that I have finally learned to appreciate and eat broccoli, I thought it should be part of the game plan!
OK, so far so good. Everything seemed to be under control, and quite easy-peasy. But things changed all of a sudden, as soon as I got ready to clean the artichokes. I must have forgotten the shock of the day we bought them. I mean, I have seen all kinds so far. Or at least that’s what I thought.. Big, slim, with and without spines. But nowhere close to these spines!! Look at them! Almost intimidating. I have never used so many precautions during the cleaning and cutting process, using gloves and all the extra caution that comes with it. I looked like I was experimenting in a lab with some dangerous chemicals! Trust me, you don’t want to sting yourself with those!
A few deep breaths and an hour later, the hearts where ready to be sautéed. Finally! And the taste was de-li-cious!! It was worth the effort. No doubts.
Btw, talking about gloves.. I highly recommend using a pair when cleaning artichokes. Otherwise your hands will look brownish very quickly. And it is impossible to wash it off right away, not even with soap. Shouldn’t you have any gloves available, brush off your hands when you’re done with a slice of a lemon.
In one of my previous posts you can also find a step-by-step guide with pictures, which might be helpful while trimming the hearts.
- 250 g / 8¾ oz of flour
- 125 g / 4½ oz of butter (soft)
- 70 ml / 2¼fl oz of lukewarm water
- ½ tsp of salt
- 5-6 (fresh) artichoke hearts, sliced
- 120 g / 4 oz (fresh) broccoli, chopped
- feta cheese (optional)
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 100 ml / 3¼fl oz milk
- 3 eggs
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- ground red pepper
- Take the butter out of the fridge at least one hour prior to making the dough.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 356°F.
- Mix the flour, butter, salt and water and knead until you get a smooth dough.
- Grease a large mold (or 5-6 mini molds) with butter. Roll out the dough as thin as a pie crust or a little thinner. (If the molds are not that deep, make sure that the dough reaches the edge.)
- Then take a fork and make little holes into the dough, so that steam doesn’t build up underneath it while baking.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until slightly golden.
- Trim and clean the artichoke hearts (see step-by-step guide link in above text).
- Clean and chop the broccoli into small pieces.
- Chop the shallot and put aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan at medium heat.
- Stir in the shallot. Brown for about 1 minute.
- Add the artichokes and broccoli. Season with oregano, red ground pepper and salt.
- Stir once in a while and sauté for about 15-20 minutes.
- In the meantime beat the eggs, milk, red ground pepper and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- Take the mold(s) out of the oven, and carefully place the veggie mix inside. Sprinkle with feta cheese (if desired).
- Then fill the molds with the egg-milk mix.
- Bake at 180°C / 356°F for approx. 25-40 minutes (depending on the size of the quiche), until it gets a nice golden-brown color.