There they were, standing in a bucket with just enough water to keep their stems hydrated. My in-laws had just spent a month enjoying the bounties of nature only spring in Liguria can provide and had promised to stop by with some of the carciofi or artichokes the coastal region south of Piedmont is famous for. They weren’t the bulbous, round-leafed variety my family cooked with in Australia. I quickly discarded my initial idea of stuffing them with breadcrumbs, pecorino cheese, parsley and pepper like Nonna Sarina often did. Their tighter, elongated shape just did not suit being ripieni or stuffed. Instead, I remembered another recipe I’d recently come across in my favourite Italian cooking magazine at the time, La Cucina Italiana. Anna and Aldo had left too quickly though for me to ask them a very important question: how exactly do I trim an artichoke, and a spinoso or spiky one at that?

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