- 60 min
If you love artichokes but are short of ideas on how to use them, here is a simple and very delicious recipe just waiting to be tried! Artichoke balls with a cheesy heart are a delicious finger food, ideal for serving as a starter. They are made with blanched artichokes, soft bread, egg and grated grana padana cheese, flavored with garlic and parsley, before being shaped into small balls.
But there's more: each ball contains a melt-in-the-mouth and flavorsome Montasio cheese heart, which is what makes them so irresistible! Artichoke balls with a melted heart will disappear from your table in a flash!
To prepare artichoke balls with a cheesy heart, start by cleaning the artichokes: remove the outermost leaves 1 and the stalk; now tip, cut in half and remove the fuzzy middle 2. Place in a basin with abundant water and the juice of a lemon cut in half 3, so that they do not blacken.
Once you have cleaned all the artichokes, cook them in abundant salted water 4 in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes (if you don't have a pressure cooker then simply boil them for 20 minutes): the artichokes should be tender but not over-cooked. In the meantime, dice the bread (preferably stale), after removing the crust 5. Drain the artichokes and use a mixer to blend them into a cream 6.
Add salt and pepper, the diced bread 7, grated grana cheese and the egg 8; lastly, add a crushed garlic clove 9. Thoroughly blend all the ingredients together.
Place the resulting mixture in a bowl and add the finely chopped parsley 10. Leave the mixture to cool and in the meantime, finely dice the montasio cheese into pieces that are roughly 0.2 inches (0.5 cm) each 11. Now shape into balls: take around 0.7 oz (20 g) of the mixture and roll by hand 12. Dampen the palm of your hand with some water to make this step easier.
Delicately press down on the middle of the ball with your index finger to form a small hole 13 and add a cube of montasio cheese 14. Roll the ball in both hands to cover the filling and create an even shape. Once you use up all the filling, bread the balls by dipping them first in the beaten egg 15 and immediately after
in the breadcrumbs 16, to coat them fully. Heat the oil in a pan and when it reaches around 356°F (180°C), fry the balls, turn them over occasionally so that they become golden all over 17. If you do not wish to fry the balls, you can bake them in the oven at 390°F (200°C) for 25 minutes, until golden. Drain the balls and leave them to dry on some absorbent kitchen paper: serve the artichoke balls with a cheesy heart immediately, to make the most of the Montasio cheese filling!
Enjoy artichoke balls with a melted heart freshly made.
Once cooked, artichokes don't last for long: keep them in the refrigerator for no longer than a day.
Artichoke balls with a melted heart can be frozen uncooked and fried without defrosting.
Or if you prefer, fry them for a couple of minutes, leave to cool and freeze them nearly done, so that you can finish cooking them in a little oil in a pan in just 5 minutes, from frozen.
If you fancy a more decisive flavor, or you are simply looking to add variety to the mixture, or recycle leftovers, we suggest you blend some cooked ham or pitted olives with the mixture: delicious!