Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten
australiaphen375.com

Pasta with baby artichokes


Serves 2

I first had a dish like this when I was working in Rome with my co-author of Superfoods, Barbara Griggs. My immediate reaction was to say that you could only eat artichokes boiled and steeped in butter. How wrong I was! We now grow artichokes in our garden and this recipe is a delight; cut off the young ones early in the season and save their old relatives until they mature later in the year.

Eating this fabulously healthy and simple dish always reminds me of springtime in Rome and having to ask Barbara what on earth all the farmers wives were doing selling these strange baby vegetables on every street corner of the city. Now it's your turn.

8 baby artichokes (if they're no bigger than a Victoria plum – 4 if they are)
Juice of half a lemon
Half a tsp white wine vinegar
3 rashers lean bacon, cut into fine slices
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
175g/6oz flat pasta – pappardelle or linguine
50g/2oz can anchovies (see my tip)
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Cut the spiked tops off the artichokes using a sharp knife and remove any of the outer leaves that are very tough.

Halve and place straight into a bowl of cold water and the juice of half a lemon to prevent browning.

If the artichokes are a bit larger, cut into quarters and if necessary remove the furry chokes.

Add the vinegar to a large pan of boiling water, add artichokes, simmer for 5 minutes, drain.

Sauté the bacon and garlic in half the oil and cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water.

When the pasta is nearly finished add the artichokes to the bacon and garlic with the rest of the oil and continue to sauté gently.

When the pasta is ready, drain, rinse, tip into a preheated serving bowl.

Mix in the artichokes and bacon.

Arrange the anchovies on top and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

MICHAEL'S TIP

When you're cooking artichokes, don't throw away the water. Save it to use as a basis for brilliant vegetable stock – we'll be telling you about home-made stock in a future newsletter.

Many people don’t like the salty taste of anchovies. The secret is to soak them in milk for about five minutes, then rinse in water before you use them.

 

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