Some women get their kicks from a new pair of jeans or the latest high fashion heels. Me? I’m as giddy as a clothes horse at Chanel when I discover a new pasta shape. In this case, my infatuation was over a curly-cued, adorable pasta I found called girelle, a word that means spinning tops.
I just loved the way they looked in their uncooked state – almost like a naval on a very pregnant gal whose innie has become an outie. I had the urge to heap them into a big bowl and leave them on my coffee table, just to admire their whimsical, sculptural form. Well… almost…but my culinary urge overcame my aesthetic urge, bringing me to my senses and to this dish of artichokes and pasta, which I urge you to try. (That’s a lot of urges, isn’t it?)
I used frozen artichoke hearts and they’re really quite good – plus they save you a lot of time and trouble of trimming fresh ones. If you want to use fresh artichokes however, there’s a primer on how to trim them here. Get the water boiling while you’re cooking the artichokes, because the whole thing comes together in about 15 minutes.
Before you know it, you’re sitting down to a big, warm, delicious bowl of pasta and artichokes. So dig in.
Pasta with Artichokes
serves four to six, depending on appetites
- 1 pound pasta (I used girelle, but orecchiette, farfalle, or other shapes of pasta would be great too)
- 2 9-ounce boxes frozen artichoke hearts
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, or one large shallot, diced finely
- 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- a few sprigs of thyme
- minced parsley – about 1/4 cup
- salt, pepper
- a healthy drizzle of lemon-flavored olive oil (I used a brand from Olio2Go - Gianfranco Becchina’s olio verde al limone), or if not available, juice of 1/2 lemon and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- parmesan cheese
Thaw the artichoke hearts. Using a saucepan, cook the onion in the olive oil until limp, then add the minced garlic. Let the garlic soften and add the artichoke hearts. Season them with salt and pepper. Add the wine and the vegetable broth (I was making asparagus that day, so I took the discarded ends and cooked them in water first to make my own vegetable broth. ) Cover the pot and cook the artichokes in the liquid over moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Check the pot occasionally to make sure the liquid doesn’t dry out. If necessary, add more broth, but this is not a soup-y sauce. Near the end of the 10 minutes, add the thyme and parsley. Turn off the heat and add about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and mix it all together. Place the pasta in a serving dish, drizzle some lemon-flavored olive oil on top (or the juice of a lemon and regular olive oil), add another sprinkling of parmesan cheese and serve.