The garden is giving me lots of artichokes this spring and I’m loving them! So far, in addition to plain steamed (or simmered) artichokes served with lemony mayonnaise, I’ve made artichoke soup, pasta with spicy artichoke sauce, sautéed artichokes, marinated baby artichokes, braised artichokes… Oh, and a raw artichoke salad! They’ve all been really good but one of my favorites might be the pasta with artichokes and bacon that I made last night. I made about 1/3 of the recipe as I was really hoping for enough for dinner last night and lunch tomorrow. The recipe is from Lidia’s Italy in America, an excellent and fun cookbook. She called for orecchiette but I didn’t have any so just used large elbows instead, figuring that was the closest in size that I had.
To trim the artichokes, first fill a bowl with water and squeeze half a lemon into it. Cut the stem off an artichokes and snap off the tough outer leaves until you get to where the leaves are a lighter green. Trim any dark green off the heart (the bottom) and cut about an inch off the tops. Slice the artichoke in half lengthwise and remove any fuzzy choke. I like to use a grapefruit spoon for this part as it makes scraping the choke out really easy. For this recipe, cut the artichokes lengthwise into 1/2″ slices and add the pieces to the lemon water so they won’t discolor.1