Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tortino di Carciofi

Tortino di Carciofi

Recipe by William Colsher, inspired by Trattoria Sostanza
Not as pretty, but just as tasty...

Tortino di Carciofi is a near legendary dish from the tiny Trattoria Sostanza in Florence. There's lots of talk about it, but very few people seems to have attempted the dish at home.

Last week Elizabeth Minchilli wrote a blog post about Sostanza and this dish, including a series of pictures and a short video. That cleared up a couple of things: 1) The artichokes are lightly battered and fried before they go into the tortino and 2) the dish is cooked in a small, straight sided saute pan.

In this rendition, I've used a simple tempura batter, but from the photos in Ms. Minchilli's post it looks like they may have been just floured.

The whole process is a little time consuming, but the only real skill is swirling the pan and turning the tortino as the eggs set up, forming the little Sostanza "nest"

Yield: 2 servings

  • 2 or 3 Artichokes
  • 6 Large Eggs at room temperature
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Salt
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Lemons
  • 1 Cup AP Flour
  • 1 Tbs Corn Starch
  • 1.5 Cups Ice water
  • 2 cups Vegetable Oil
Cooking Directions
  1. Prepare a bowl of acidulated water using one of the lemons.
  2. Trim the artichokes and cut them into thin slices. Drop the slices into the acidulated water.
  3. Heat the vegetable in a small sauce pan to 350 - 375 degrees
  4. While the oil is heating combine the flour, cornstarch, and ice water in a small bowl. Mix gently to form a thin batter. Don't bother to work out the lumps - you want to avoid strengthening the gluten. Some people use seltzer water, which may produce a lacier batter.
  5. Drain the artichoke pieces and drop them into the batter.
  6. When the oil is heated, shake most of the batter off a few artichoke pieces and carefully drop them into the oil.

  7. Gently stir the artichoke pieces to keep them separate and fry until they begin to brown, about 3-4 minutes.
  8. Remove the fried artichoke pieces with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season lightly with salt.
  9. Continue until all the artichokes are fried.
  10. Break three eggs into a small bowel, add a little grated parmigiano and a pinch of salt. Beat the eggs well, until the color is uniform.
  11. Heat a 2 quart (or smaller, but 2 quart pans are easy to find), straight sided saute pan over medium high heat. You want to get the sides almost as hot as the bottom.
  12. Add three tablespoons of olive oil to the pan then tip and turn the pan to coat the sides.

  13. Place half the artichoke pieces in the middle of the pan. As soon as they start sizzling slowly add the egg mixture in a thin stream directly onto the artichoke pieces. As it begins to set up around the artichoke pieces tilt the pan to one side and move it in a circular motion. (Just like the the Julia Child omelet swirl.) Once all the eggs are in, you can use a fork to turn the tortino against the side of the pan.
  14. Continue turning the tortino in the tilted pan, encouraging the remaining raw egg mixture to flow out and form the famous Sostanza "nest".
  15. When nearly all the egg mixture is cooked, scoop the tortino into a heated shallow bowl and set aside.
  16. Repeat for the second tortino.
  17. Drizzle on a extra virgin olive oil and serve with a slice of lemon and salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I have made it twice already and it's so simple and delicious. Can't wait to try your other recipes.
    Grazie mille!

  2. Thanks! The simple ones are so often the best aren't they?



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...