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Artichoke Sformato with Fonduta Sauce

Artichoke Sformato with Fonduta Sauce

(Serves 8)


1 lemon, juice

6 oz (2 cups) baby artichokes or the heart and bottom of globe artichoke or frozen hearts

2 cups bechamel sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 minced garlic

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1 tsp finely chopped fresh marjoram

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

4 large eggs

1 Tbsp unsalted butter for greasing the pan

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs


Bechamel Sauce:

6 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups hot milk

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Cheese Fonduta:

6 ounces fontina cheese

6 ounces heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground white pepper


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.


Coat the bottom of a skillet with the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté it over medium heat until it starts to color. Add the artichokes, herbs, and wine. Add 1/2 cup 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.


Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan until frothing. Remove from heat and stir in flour with a whisk. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 of the hot milk and whisk until smooth. Add remaining milk and whisk until smooth. Bring to boil, add salt, pepper and nutmeg, lower heat and simmer 10 minutes.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the cooled artichokes and set aside. Place half of the artichokes in a food processor and blend into a fine puree. In a mixing bowl, mix the pureed artichokes, the bechamel, salt, pepper, Parmesan and eggs. Stir until thoroughly combined. Gently fold in the other half of the artichokes which had been previously set aside. Butter a chiffon pan and coat with bread crumbs. Pour the artichoke mixture into the pan. Fill a 15-inch baking pan 1/3 filled with hot water.


Place the pan on the baking pan, so that the pan is standing in the hot water. Carefully place the baking pan into the oven. Bake until the top of the sformato is golden brown and a dipped toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes.


Remove and allow to cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the fonduta.


To make the fonduta:

Mix the grated fontina cheese, the heavy cream, and the salt and pepper in small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring constantly, until smooth and creamy. To serve: Turn the sformato out onto a large plate. Cut into 2-inch slices and place the slices on serving plates. Spoon the fonduta sauce over the slices and serve immediately.
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