Cookies from Southern Italy
Apr 042013
 

I have decided to share with you  the recipes that did not make it into my first cookbook “My Calabria”. I had tested and submitted too many recipes and at the end many had to be cut so the book didn’t go over 400 pages. Here is the first recipe that I would like to share with you,  Spaghetti with Fresh Artichokes. This is a simple recipe that I prepare during this time of the year  when you can find the small artichokes that are used in this dish. This sauce works well with long or short pasta and especially well with homemade pasta.

Pasta with artichokes plated

The small artichokes required for this dish are entirely edible once you remove the tough outer leaves. They don’t have a fuzzy choke inside like the softball-size artichokes. Nevertheless, they are from the same plant, and although they are often called “baby” artichokes, they are fully mature. They remain small because of their position on the plant, tucked down among the leaves where they don’t get much sun.  They should weigh about an ounce or more each and feel firm when you squeeze them.

Fresh artichokes

Be ruthless when trimming the artichokes, removing all the leaves down to the pale heart, or your sauce may be fibrous. If properly trimmed, the artichokes will soften fully when braised, becoming creamy and offering no resistance to the tooth.

Trimming artichokes

To trim the artichokes, peel back the outer leaves until they break at the base. Keep removing leaves until you reach the pale green heart. Cut across the top of the heart to remove the pointed leaf tips. If the stem is still attached, cut it down to 1/2 inch (12 millimeters), then trim the stem and base to remove any dark green or brown parts.  When all the artichokes are trimmed, cut them in half lengthwise and slice thinly. Place the slices in  lemon water to keep them from turning brown.

Artichokes in lemon water

Making the sauce is very simple. Saute the garlic with some olive oil and add the sliced artichokes along with some chopped parsley. You cook it for few minutes to infuse the artichokes with the seasonings and then add water and braise the artichokes until they are soft and creamy.

Drain the pasta and transfer it to the skillet with the artichokes. Add more parsley and toss well, moistening if necessary with some of the reserved pasta water. Sprinkle with grated pecorino to taste and toss again. Simple and tasty!

Pasta with artichokes

Spaghetti con carciofi (Spaghetti with fresh artichokes)

Ingredients

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 pound (450 grams) small artichokes (about 16)
  • 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1.5 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Ground hot red pepper, optional
  • 1 pound (450 grams) spaghetti, bucatini, or orecchiette
  • Freshly grated pecorino cheese

Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the juice of the lemon. Reserve the lemon halves.

To trim the artichokes, peel back the outer leaves until they break at the base. Keep removing leaves until you reach the pale green heart. Cut across the top of the heart to remove the pointed leaf tips. If the stem is still attached, cut it down to 1/2 inch (12 millimeters), then trim the stem and base to remove any dark green or brown parts. Immediately rub the trimmed artichoke with one of the lemon halves, then drop the artichoke into the bowl of lemon water to prevent browning. When all the artichokes are trimmed, cut them in half lengthwise and slice thinly. Return the slices to the lemon water.

Warm the olive oil in a heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add the garlic and sauté until it sizzles, but do not let it brown. Drain the sliced artichokes and add them to the skillet along with 4 tablespoons parsley. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes to infuse the artichokes with the seasonings. Add enough warm water to come just to the top of the artichokes, about 1 cup (250 milliliters). Season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer gently until the artichokes are soft, about 25 minutes. If all the water evaporates before the artichokes are done, add a little more water 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) at a time. Stir in hot pepper to taste, if using.

Bring 5 quarts (5 liters) of water to a boil in an 8-quart (8-liter) pot over high heat. Add 1/4 cup (35 grams) kosher salt, then add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes.

Set aside 1 cup (250 milliliters) of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and transfer it to the skillet with the artichoke sauce. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and toss well, moistening if necessary with some of the reserved pasta water. Sprinkle with grated pecorino to taste and toss again. Serve at once.

Serves 4 to 6

http://cookingwithrosetta.com/spaghetti-con-carciofi-spaghetti-with-fresh-artichokes/

  10 Responses to “Spaghetti con carciofi (Spaghetti with fresh artichokes)”

  1.  

    A timeless and wonderful recipe, perfectly presented. And we in NY are now getting more and more smaller artichokes, at fairly OK prices, too.

  2.  

    Bob,
    I am glad to hear that you guys are getting the small artichokes in NY. One way I like to prepare these small artichokes is roasted in the oven, just olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs and lemon juice!

  3.  

    The recipe looks delicious Rosetta, my cousins in Calabria talk of making this too. We are just beginning to see the first of season’s artichokes in the markets here in North Queensland, Australia and I now I know what will be one of the first things I will be making. Thank you and I can’t wait to see more!!!

  4.  

    I love carciofi but have never managed to cook them successfully, after reading your recipe and seeing the photos, clearly I haven’t been ruthless enough!
    Will get my ruthless head on and try these tonight! Thanks,
    Lesley

  5.  

    Up here in north Mts we are learning about artichokes especially in healthy eating in weight loss! So glad to know you can tear away at outer leaves! But Eh we don’t like to throw away anything! Our planting and growing season is good days 90 growing days! Kindest Regards!

  6.  

    Mi piace carciofi molto. Grazie infinitamente per la ricetta.

  7.  

    Very refreshing!
    Bonnie

  8.  

    Can you use a food processor to blend the artichoke and virgin oil together?

  9.  

    Janny,

    Are you interested in making a sauce (pureed) with the cooked artichokes and toss the pasta with it? I am sure it would work. I like the texture and creaminess of the cooked baby artichokes but I don’t see why you couldn’t make a sauce out of it. Try it and let me know how it turns out.

  10.  

    Just made this for dinner and it was delicious. My 7-year-old son says it was awesome. It was my first time preparing artichokes and your instructions made the process very simple. Thank you!

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