Artichoke Souffle, Tuscan Style
(Tortino di Carciofi)

Artichoke souffle sounds very fancy, but this is actually a typical home-style dish housewives of a certain era used to make, most likely using aged pecorino or another sheep's milk cheese instead of the Parmesan I suggest. (I like Parmesan because it is sweeter.) Today you are more likely to find this dish in a trattoria during spring artichoke season, when it turns up on hundreds of menus.

Serves 8.

1 lemon
6 oz (2 cups) baby artichokes (or the heart and bottom of globe artichoke or frozen hearts)
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh marjoram (or oregano)
1 cup dry white wine
freshly ground black pepper
9 eggs, seperated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little more for coating the ramekins
2 Tbsp. butter, for greasing the ramekins


  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Fill a bowl with water. Cut the lemon in two and squeeze the juice into the water. Add the squeezed lemon halves to the water too. If you are using baby artichokes, peel the outer leaves from the artichoke until you reach the part where the leaves are mostly creamy yellow. Cut the top inch off the artichoke and trim away the stem so that you are left with a golf ball-sized heart. Chop the hearts roughly and place in the lemon water. (For globe artichokes, remove the tough outer leaves and cut the artichokes into wedges. Remove the choke and the soft curly leaves above it. Chop and place in the lemon water.) Set aside. Drain before using.
  3. Coat the bottom of a skillet with the olive oil. Add the garlic and saute it over medium heat until it starts to color. Add th artichokes, herbs, and wine.
  4. Reduce the wine by half. Add 1 1/2 cups water and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the artichokes are tender and the liquid has evaporated, about 20-30 minutes depending on size. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, vigorously beat together by hand the yolks, the 1/4 cup Parmesan, and salt and pepper. Beat 4-5 minutes, until the moisture is thick. Set aside.
  6. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they are opaque and very shiny white and form soft peaks. The egg whites should be able to gently hold their shape and should not look dry or grainy.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture. Repeat until all of the whites have been incorporated. It is important to do this step very gently, so as not to deflate the egg whites. Gently stir in the reserved artichokes.
  8. Butter 8 ramekins or small ovenproof dishes and dust with grated Parmesan. Divide the souffel base evenly among the ramekins.
  9. Transfer the ramekins to a roasting pan. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Serve immediately in the ramekins.

Wine Suggestion: This souffle is great as an appetizer, too, and would go well with a white wine made from Trebbiano grapes, like Baracchi.

Recipe Source: True Tuscan: Flavors and Memories from the Countryside of Italy by Cesare Casella

Nutritional information per serving (per Mastercook): 185 Calories; 12g Fat (63.2% calories from fat); 9g Protein; 7g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 220mg Cholesterol; 180mg Sodium.

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