How to Cook Baby Artichokes Italian Style

When is Baby Artichoke Season?

Before thinking about how to cook baby artichokes Italian style, it is essential to understand the harvesting seasons. This is because fresh artichokes usually have a more complex and interesting flavor than the canned variety. Although you will do extra work, it is worth it several times over during peak season.

How to Cook Baby Artichokes Italian Style

In this sense, there are two baby artichoke seasons. The first comes between March to June, and the second comes from September to October. On the other hand, California artichokes are generally available throughout the year, but their quality is better during peak seasons.

The Three Different Types of Artichokes Found in Italy

Carciofo Spinoso di Sardegna

This type of artichoke is usually grown in coastal areas and along riverbanks on the island of Sardinia. It flourishes here because of favorable soil quality and climate conditions. The artichoke from this region is spiky, and you can easily distinguish it by its shape and long sturdy spikes on top of its purple bracts.

What differentiates the Carciofo Spinoso di Sardegna from other varieties is it’s naturally highly tender. Therefore, it is best consumed raw to safeguard its health and cleansing qualities fully. Moreover, it has a sweet flavor, is only a little astringent, and has a deep flowery aroma.

Carciofo di Paestum

This variety is also known as Tondo di Paestum. It is grown in the province of Salerno in the Campania region. It blossoms in the cool and rainy microclimate of the area. Moreover, this artichoke is tender and delicate and exhibits a deep green to violet color, and comes with a particularly strong and a little tart flavor.    

You can consume this artichoke variety fresh, boiled, grilled, or tempura-fried. Additionally, it is a popular ingredient of the Mediterranean diet and also plays a critical role in the gastronomic and farming culture of Southern Italy, especially in Campania.

Carciofo Brindisino

It is believed that the cultivation of artichokes in the Apulia region has been going on for centuries. The first time this artichoke variety is mentioned was in several Italian recipe books published in 1736. Today, the Carciofo Brindisino is exclusively cultivated in the Apulia province of Brindisi. Here, it does well in the mild Mediterranean climate and is among the early varieties.

Nevertheless, it is highly delicate and lasts a few days after picking. Moreover, they are very tender and have a sweet taste making them ideal for several crudite plates. The Brindisino artichokes are also a critical ingredient of multiple traditional Apulian recipes, including Carciofi alla Brindisina, oven-baked artichokes stuffed with bread, olives, and capers, all in all, seasoned with mint, garlic and onions.

How To Cook Baby Artichokes Italian Style

Baked Baby Artichokes

Recipe Yield: 4 -6 Serving

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • Oven
  • Casserole
  • Bowl
  • Kitchen towel/paper towel
  • Kitchen shears/sharp scissors
  • Chef’s knife/Serrated knife


  • 12 to 16 Baby artichokes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed

For the Topping

  • 1 cup Bread crumbs (if possible homemade)
  • Salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Extra olive oil for drizzling  

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190.6 degrees Celsius).
  2. Clean the artichokes – peel the stems, chop off the top third and peel off the outer, tough leaves.
  3. As you finish cleaning the rest of the artichokes, keep the prepared ones in a bowl of water with a bit of lemon added to avoid discoloration.
  4. Add the artichokes, garlic, white wine, and olive oil in a casserole large enough to hold them.
  5. Add some water if need be to bring the level up to almost cover the artichokes. After that, cover and bake them in the preheated oven until they are tender.
  6. This usually takes around 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the artichokes from the oven and increase the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit  (204.4 degrees Celsius).
  8. Drain any excess liquid from the cooked chokes and put them aside.
  9. Mix the ingredients listed for topping and sprinkle them over the artichokes in the casserole dish.
  10. Sprinkle on some extra olive oil and bake the artichokes until the topping becomes golden brown. (This will take around 10 minutes).
  11. Serve immediately or at room temperature.  

Nutritional Content

  • Calories – 625
  • Total Fat – 27g
  • Saturated Fat – 4g
  • Trans Fat – 0g
  • Unsaturated Fat – 22g
  • Cholesterol- 0mg
  • Sodium – 565mg
  • Carbohydrates – 80g
  • Fiber – 29g
  • Sugar – 7g
  • Protein – 18g

The Different Ways to Cook Baby Artichokes

There are different ways of cooking baby artichokes, including:

  1. Roasted 
  2. Baked 
  3. Sautéed
  4. Steamed, and
  5. Stuffed 
Sautéed baby artichokes

How To Choose the Right Baby Artichokes

As you shop for artichokes, there are certain things you need to look for, including tight and compact leaves. You should also go for artichokes with a few brownish blemishes. Apart from that, it is best to choose smaller artichokes instead of larger ones. However, if you plan to prepare a stuffed baby artichoke recipe, you can go for the larger ones.

Additionally, choose artichokes that feel heavier in your hands rather than light. The smaller varieties usually come with more edible leaves and less spiky chokes.

FAQs on Cooking Italian Baby Artichokes

What is the easiest way to cook baby artichokes?

Here is a simple way of cooking baby artichokes:

  • Bring water and salt to a boil (ensure you have enough water to cover the artichoke).
  • Add artichoke to the water and reduce to a simmer.
  • Cover and let cook until you can easily pull off the leaves. This might take 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the size.
  • Drain the water and allow it to cool before eating.

Do baby artichokes have a choke?

A baby artichoke is similar to a regular artichoke in many ways. However, it is a smaller and fully mature version of the typical artichoke. They are simple to prepare, cook and eat. This is because they haven’t developed the fuzzy portion of the choke at the center.

How long do you steam baby artichokes?

Steaming baby artichokes usually takes around 20 minutes. This is how you do it:

  1. Fill your steamer with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Then, add a steam basket to the steamer pot and cover it with a lid.
  3. Steam the artichokes over medium heat for 20 minutes or until the baby artichokes are soft.
  4. Remove baby artichokes and let them cool before you eat.

Are baby artichokes good for you?

Yes, baby artichokes are an excellent source of several nutritional elements that your body requires. Some of the essential elements contained in baby artichokes include:  

  • They are low in fat.
  • They are rich in fiber.
  • Baby artichokes contain vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin K, Vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and phosphorous.
  • They are also a rich source of antioxidants.  

Can babies eat artichokes?

You can introduce artichokes to your child’s diet as soon as your baby is ready to start eating solids; this is usually around six months of age. Artichoke hearts are a much-loved ingredient in cooking. On the other hand, you can cook tough petals for older toddlers.

Which part of an artichoke is poisonous?

The only part of the artichoke that you cannot eat is the hairy choke inside and the sharp fibrous outer portion of the leaves. However, the choke and rugged parts of the leaves are not poisonous. Nevertheless, please be aware of the tough part of the leaves as it is mentioned aptly as a choking hazard.

Do I need to wash an artichoke before use?

Yes, it is best to wash your artichokes. Suppose you don’t know how to do it, here is a straightforward procedure:

  1. Rinse your artichoke under cold water.
  2. Then, pat it dry using a clean kitchen towel. Alternatively, you can use a paper towel to dry.
  3. Use kitchen shears or sharp scissors to remove the thorny tips from the leaves.
  4. Cut off around one inch of the artichoke’s top using a sharp chef’s knife or serrated knife.

How do you know the artichoke is cooked?

To determine whether your artichoke is cooked, lightly take off a leaf. If the leaf falls off quickly, your artichoke is probably cooked. However, to be sure, cool it down and take a bite from the leaf’s bottom (the part near the artichoke’s innards). It is a small part, but it is the only edible part of the leaf.

How long do you boil artichokes?

It might take around 10 to 20 minutes to boil small artichokes. Here is how to cook mini artichokes by boiling: 

  • Completely submerge trimmed artichokes in salted water and boil them for up to 20 minutes until they are tender. The time it takes for artichokes to cook depends on their sizes.
  • Once it boils, drain well and allow it to cool.
  • After that, cover and put in the refrigerator until ready to use.  

How do you trim baby artichokes?

Here is how to trim baby artichokes:

  1. Trim the outer leaves by pulling them downward so that they break off at the base.
  2. Continue pulling until you reach the core of pale green leaves.
  3. After that, trim the stem using a sharp paring knife.
  4. Shave off rough areas around the base.
  5. Finally, cut off ½ inch of the artichoke’s top.

How long do you cook artichoke hearts?

Baby artichoke hearts take about 20 to 35 minutes to cook. Check the process of “how to long do you boil artichokes” to know how to cook artichokes by boiling.

Why are artichokes so expensive?

Basically, artichokes are only harvested once a year. Moreover, they must be consumed; otherwise, the entire crop will go bad. These factors, coupled with low production per acre, drive up its costs.


So, suppose you read this comprehensive guide to the end. In that case, you know how to cook baby artichokes Italian style and understand more about its different varieties and different ways of cooking it. Choose the mini artichoke recipe that suits your cooking style and prepare this nutritious delicacy for your family. What’s more, you can even serve it to your babies! 

Buon Appetito!