Braised artichokes, also known as "carciofi alla Romana" or "Roman-style artichokes", are an easy Italian artichoke recipe that you can make with simple ingredients in just about 30 minutes.
Eat them as a starter, side dish, or as a quick lunch or dinner on a piece of toasted bread.
Check out our how to cook artichokes guide!
What to expect
Carciofi alla Romana is an Italian artichoke recipe of braised artichokes that are simmered in a pot with water, olive oil, and herbs like mint and parsley.
They are mostly served in central Italy, in and around the Rome area. This is a simple dish, mostly made in spring when artichokes are at their best.
To learn more about artichokes check out our guide "how to cook artichokes" with our best artichoke recipes.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Artichokes: in Italy we use a type of Roman artichoke called "carciofo Romanesco" or "mammole". If you are not in Italy, just get hold on any type of fresh artichoke you can find. Specially good for this recipe are globe artichokes.
- Herbs mix: to season the artichokes you'll need garlic, mint (or mentuccia, or Roman mint if you can find it), and flat-leaf parsley.
- Lemon: used to prevent the artichokes from turning black.
- White wine: this is optional, but recommended. You can replace with vegetable broth.
- Extra virgin olive oil: another key ingredient of this recipe.
- Salt & Pepper.
How to make carciofi alla romana?
Clean the artichokes first
Here's our full guide on how to clean and cook artichokes.
Before touching the artichokes, brush your hands with lemon or use gloves to prevent your hands from getting brown.
Remove the harder and woodier outer leaves of the artichoke with your hands.
You need to remove leaves until you reach softer leaves. Trim the stem, and peel it.
With your thumbs gently open up the center of the artichoke exposing the core of the choke, then with a teaspoon remove the fuzzy core.
Put the clean artichoke in a bowl with cold water and lemon so that they don't turn black.
Cook the artichokes
Chop together mint, parsley, and garlic. Add the mix to a small bowl and season it with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
With your fingers, add the mix of herbs in the center and between the leaves of the artichoke.
In a pot big enough to fit all the artichokes snuggly, warm up the olive oil. Then add the artichokes, upside down, and side by side, quite tight.
When the oil starts to fry, add the white wine, let evaporate, then add 1 cup of water and some extra salt, pepper, and the leftover herb mix.
Now cover the pot and let cook for 20 to 30 minutes on medium to low heat, or until the artichokes are soft. To check if they are cooked use a knife to pierce through them with a pointy knife. They should be as soft as butter.
Serve as a starter, as a side with our easy oven-baked farinata, or as a snack with this 1-minute mayo. I even use these as filling in a sandwich with a chipotle dressing. They can be eaten warm or at room temperature.
- Find fresh artichokes: fresh artichokes are strongly recommended for this recipe because they are less "hairy" inside. An artichoke is fresh when it's 1) heavy, 2) squeaky when you squeeze its head/leaves, 3) toned, not floppy, especially the stalk, 4) it has a uniform colour, with no dark spots.
- Remove the hairy core: when cleaning the artichoke is best to remove the "fuzzy hairy" part inside. Fresh artichokes have less hair, old artichokes have more hair. Remove it with a teaspoon or with a paring knife.
- Brush your hands with lemon: artichoke oxidize quickly, and oxidization will color your hands of a dark color. To avoid that, brush your hands with lemon.
- Season inside the leaves: to get artichokes that are bursting with flavor you need to brush the seasoning with your fingers inside the core and between the leaves.
- Remove all woody parts: artichoke is a woody vegetable that if not cleaned properly is not pleasant to eat. Pay particular attention to the outer part of the stalk, and to the outer leaves.
- Submerge the artichokes in lemon water: to prevent artichokes from turning dark you need to put them in a bowl with water and lemon, and cover them with a piece of kitchen paper soaked with lemon water. This way the lemon will slow down the oxidisation process and the artichoke will keep its bright green color.
- Don't throw out the scraps. Check out how we use them for soups, hummus, and pasta or in this blog post.
Carciofi alla Romana (braised Roman-style artichokes) can be eaten warm or at room temperature, but are best eaten within 24 hours of cooking them.
You can store them in the fridge for up to 2 days in an airtight container. To warm them up, put them on a pan with a dash of olive oil, or warm them up in the oven. They are not suitable for freezing.
More artichoke recipes
- How to cook artichokes with our best artichoke recipes
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- Steamed artichokes
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- Pan-fried artichokes
- Artichoke pasta
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Braised Artichokes - Carciofi alla Romana
- 6 artichokes
- 1 handful flat-leaf parsley
- 1 handful mint or mentuccia
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
- 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- salt & pepper
How to clean artichokes
- Fill up a bowl with cold water, then cut open a lemon and add it to the bowl, squeezing its juice in the water.
- Now start cleaning the artichokes. First, remove the harder and woodier outer leaves of the artichoke with your hands. You need to remove leaves until you reach softer non-woody leaves.TIP: before touching the artichokes, brush your hands with lemon. If you don't, your hands will turn dark.
- Then, with a paring knife, cut off half of the stem, then remove its outer woodier part.
- Now cut off the thorns, the top part of the artichoke.
- Finally, with your thumbs gently open up the center of the artichoke exposing the core of the choke, then with a teaspoon remove the fuzzy core.
- Put the clean artichoke in the bowl with the lemon water so that they don't turn black.
How to cook the artichokes
- Chop together mint, parsley, and garlic. Add the mix to a small bowl and season it with salt, pepper, and olive oil.
- With your fingers, add the mix of herbs in the centre and between the leaves of the artichoke.
- In a pot big enough to fit all the artichokes snuggly, warm up the olive oil. Then add the artichokes, upside down, and side by side, quite tight.
- When the oil starts to fry, add the white wine, let evaporate, then add 1 cup of water and some extra salt, pepper and the leftover herb mix.
- Now cover the pot and let cook for 20 to 30 minutes on medium to low heat, or until the artichokes are soft. To check if they are cooked use a knife to pierce through them. They should be as soft as butter.
- Serve as a starter, side, or as a snack as filling in a sandwich. They can be eaten warm or at room temperature.