La Vera Cucina

Anna’s Carciofi Ripieni

Back when Audubon, NJ caterer Stephen Scaramuzzi was growing up, he used to help his mother, Anna, prepare her signature Carciofi Ripieni (stuffed artichokes). Even today, the mingling aromas of earthy artichokes, tangy Romano cheese, and fragrant olive oil fondly rekindle Stephen’s warm memories of his mother’s kitchen!

While some versions of stuffed artichokes are just oven-baked, Mamma Anna’s version is first slowly steamed for especially tender leaves!


  • 6 large fresh artichokes
  • 2 cups day-old bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional: tablespoon anchovy (rinsed and minced)



Using a knife, carefully trim stems off artichoke bottoms and cut across artichoke tops to remove sharp leaf tips. Remove hard outer leaves. Place thumbs into the center of each artichoke “flower” and pull in opposite directions to spread remaining leaves. Rinse out the inside of artichokes; place artichokes face down into two inches of cold water for 10 minutes. Remove artichokes from cold water and drain.

Place upright artichokes side by side into a large cooking pot. Add roughly two inches of hot water to the pot. Place pot over medium-high flame. Place lid onto pot, covering roughly two-thirds of the opening. Heat artichokes until leaves soften and pull off easily.

Place bread crumbs into bowl. Lightly sprinkle with water to soften. Add parsley, salt, pepper, and grated cheese to bread and mix thoroughly. Remove artichokes from the cooking pot and place in a baking pan. Spread leaves of artichokes and stuff bread-cheese mixture into crevices between the leaves. Top each artichoke with a pinch of Romano cheese and a generous drizzle of flavorful olive oil.

  • Bake 20 minutes at 375° F.
  • Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Variation: Add minced anchovy to bread and cheese mixture before artichokes are stuffed.


Learning about Carciofi (Kar-chof-ee)

Carciofi (artichokes) are a staple vegetable in Roman cuisine, especially in spring during Pasqua (Easter). Botanically, artichokes are edible members of the thistle family and are thought to have originated in North Africa, where some varieties still grow wild. Enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean, the artichoke has been cultivated in Italy since Roman times. In addition to steaming and baking, traditional preparations include grilling, roasting, and frying