Gobbi in forno- Cardone gratin

Along with Tuscan black kale, the Cardone (or “gobbo”) has always been the protagonist of the Tuscan farmers’ winter cuisine.
It belongs to the artichokes’ family but has a more delicate flavour and has the consistency, and looks, of celery.

Since winter is the time of the year when you can find them in most grocery shops in Toronto, this month I want to share with you my baked version which is still a common dish on our Christmas lunch table. Gobbi are low in calories and rich in iron, calcium and potassium- they take a while to cook but you can prepare this dish well in advance.

difficulty: low
preparation :30 min
cooking:50 min
serves :4 people
cost: low

Gobbi 1 kg
Scallions 3
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
Extra virgin olive oil 3 tablespoons
Nutmeg 1 pinch
Parmigiano Reggiano 40 gr grated
Fresh bread crumbs 30 gr
Salt and pepper to taste
Tomato sauce or “passata” (the kind you buy in a glass bottle) 4 tablespoons


This recipe is really easy, the only difficulty is the cleaning of the gobbi : first rinse and trim ends. “Devain” the stalks after rinsing will make them more tender once cooked. Remove/Pull fibrous strings from stalks as you would do with celery.

1. Cut stalks in 10 cm pieces; ; If not used immediately , they should be soaked in water acidulated with lemon juice to prevent them turning black (as you do with artichokes) .
2. Boil gobbi in salted water for 30 minutes or until tender but still crispy, then drain them.
3. In a saucepan, cook shallots in olive oil with thyme and nutmeg until tender.
4. Add gobbi and cook at medium heat for 5 minutes.
5. Add tomato sauce and cook for 10 more minutes (add a ladle of hot water if it’s too dry)- until all the liquid has evaporated.
6. Grease a baking pan and sprinkle it with the bread crumbs before placing the first layer of gobbi side by side; then sprinkle with half Parmigiano.
7. Form a second layer of gobbi and sprinkle it with the remaining Parmigiano and bread crumbs.
8. Bake in preheated oven at 200 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the surface of the preparation is golden brown (for this purpose , the last 5-10 minutes , you can also switch to broil)
9. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.