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Artichokes Romano

4 medium artichokes
1/2 lemon
1 cup soft Italian bread breadcrumbs (or add 3 T water to 1 cup dry crumbs and mix well to moisten)
1 cup grated Peccorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
2 T. chopped fresh parsley (or add a tsp. water to 1 T. dried parsley)
1 clove garlic - chopped fine or pressed through a garlic press
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil

Wash the artichokes. Cut the stems straight across, leaving a level base so the artichokes will stand upright. Remove the tough outer leaves at the base & cut off the tips of all leaves with scissors. With a sharp knife, slice the top of the artichokes straight across, taking off about 1". As you trim, rub the artichokes with the cut lemon to prevent discoloration. Tap them firmly several times on a hard surface, upside down, to force the center leaves slightly open. Combine the bread crumbs, cheese, parsley and garlic. Blend well and season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the filling into the artichokes, placing some in the center and tucking some between the spread leaves. Close the leaves gently and arrange the artichokes closely together in a baking pan. Drizzle 1 Tbsp of oil over each one. (I find this works best if I put the oil in a spray bottle.) Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake in a 325 F oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until the leaves pull out easily. Add water if necessary to maintain a little liquid in the pan, be careful not to let them burn. Serves 4.

~ Val "This recipe was given to me by Kristin's Grandma Rosie Ciancio, Grandma Sandy's mother. Delicious!"