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super simple roman artichoke-style pasta
make this tonight!
Happy New Year, everyone!
I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing end to 2022.
I’m hard at work on an exciting new recipe (keep an eye on your inboxes next week!), but in the meantime I thought I’d share a quick and easy weeknight dinner that I’ve been making on repeat. It’s garlicky, it’s herbaceous, and it’s the perfect antidote to the rich and heavy food I’ve been eating these last few months.
Artichokes are a star of the Italian table. You’ll find them in different preparations across the country—raw, fried, braised, roasted—but Rome is where they’re perhaps best-known. Carciofi alla giudia, crunchy, flower-like fried artichokes born in the city’s Jewish ghetto centuries ago, are a specialty. So are carciofi alla romana, artichokes braised until fork-tender with herbs, wine, and garlic—the inspiration for this recipe. Both dishes capitalize on a local artichoke variety called cimaroli (or mammole), which are large, tender, and often violet in color. They’re perfect for any preparation, and especially frying and braising, because they’re harvested before any thorns and hairy chokes develop.
Of course, today we’re keeping things simple and forgoing fresh artichokes for the tangy hearts in the jar. Which means it’s my favorite kind of meal—a pantry dish through and through; low effort and high reward. Whip this up on a Monday to start the week off right, or on a Wednesday to brighten up the mid-week slump. Better yet, spend a cozy Friday evening at home and make it tonight!
Roman Artichoke-Style Pasta
4 tablespoons (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ cup (55 grams) unseasoned or panko breadcrumbs
Zest and juice of ½ lemon, divided
4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, divided
1 shallot, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or ½ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
20 ounces (565 grams; about 1½ 14-ounce jars) quartered artichoke hearts, drained
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (120 ml) dry white wine like Pinot Grigio
12 ounces (360 grams) mafaldine, spaghetti, or other pasta of choice
¼ cup (10 grams; about ½ large bunch) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
1 ounce (30 grams) finely grated Pecorino Romano
In a medium skillet, warm 1 to 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs, season with salt, and combine until the crumbs are coated in oil. Cook, stirring often, until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
In a wide sauté pan or Dutch oven, warm the remaining oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and Aleppo pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the artichokes, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook until warmed, 3 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then season it generously with salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until 2 minutes shy of al dente. Transfer directly to the pan with the artichokes, along with 1 cup (240 ml) cooking water. Cook over medium-high heat, tossing constantly, until the water thickens, 2 to 3 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice, remaining butter, herbs, and cheese until the pasta is well-coated (note this is more of a coating than a saucy sauce). Adjust seasoning to taste and serve, topped with plenty of breadcrumbs.
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