There’s nothing better than fresh herbs, pasta and baby artichokes. Besides being delicious, it also means spring has sprung, and all those root vegetables, roasts and stews are bye-bye til next winter.
What you’ll need:
1. baby artichokes. For two mouths and some leftovers, I buy five
2. Pasta. I’m loving the fresh pasta from Union Market in Brooklyn right now. Especially the spinach fettuccine. (Sidenote: yes, it will never be as cheap as dried pasta, but it’s a fair and easy amount, around $4.)
3. a couple lemons
4. a handful of each: mint, basil, parsley
5. a shallot and a few cloves of garlic
6. some white wine – maybe around 1/2 cup?
7. a cup or so of veggie broth
8. olive oil, salt, red pepper chili flakes
9. parmesan — just for the top
1. Start boiling water in your electric hot water boiler. In a large pot, start cooking some large chunks of garlic in a splash of olive oil. Then add the juice of 1 1/2 lemons, add the lemons, then add the boiled water. Refill your electric boiler, let it boil, and add that to the pot, too.
2. While the lemon, garlic and olive oil begin to boil, cut off the stalk part of the artichokes. Then add the artichokes to the boiling water.
3. The artichokes will take around 16 -20 minutes to cook. You want them to be soft, by not smooshy. Gross. (This is ahead of the game, but please don’t throw out that water! when the chokes finish cooking, you’ll see why).
4. While the artis cook, dice up your shallots, another couple large garlic cloves. When the artichokes finish cooking (KEEP THE WATER, just use tongs to remove the chokes), fry up the shallots and garlic in a separate frying pan, along with a little bit of olive oil, around 1 tablespoon. Then add the white wine and veggie broth. Let it simmer.
5. 1/4 cut the artichokes and add them to the fry pan. Then add chili pepper flakes and a little bit of salt, to your tasting… those flakes will give you a bang, so don’t go crazy, just enough for some good heat. While this cooks a bit, chop up your fresh herbs — basil, parsley and mint.
6. Now with the water you did not pour out, it should still be boiling, add your pasta. Let it cook in the delicious lemon, garlic, artichoke, olive oil water you have made. Yum. Let the pasta soak up the flavor. It depends on the pasta, but for fresh pasta, it only needs around 3 minutes to cook. Oh my gosh, so damn good.
7. Pour the pasta out, then poor out the water. Combine the pasta and artichoke-wine sauce. Top it off with the fresh herbs, add some parmesan. You are a winner. Your meat eating counterparts won’t even ask where’s the beef. (that was a horrible joke).