The first preparation we’ll get into is CARCIOFI ALLA ROMANA, one of the most typical Roman contorni (side dishes). You can leave the stems on for this. Prepare a mix of finely chopped garlic, mentuccia (pennyroyal) and parsley, add some olive oil, salt and pepper and fill the interior of the artichoke (where the hair used to be) with it. Salt the artichokes on the outside. Put them upside down (make sure the filling doesn’t come out) in a deep pot with a little olive oil and let them fry for a couple of minutes, then add water until they’re half-covered. Put the lid on the pot and bring to a boil, then turn the flame down a little (it still has to boil) and let them cook for about half an hour, or until the water has almost completely evaporated, leaving only about half an inch-deep of juice in the pot. These artichokes are delicious both hot or cold, alone or as a side to meat or fish.