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 Bacon and Artichokes 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. See my article on how to cook artichokes for more ideas and recipes.
Lidia’s Pasta with Artichokes and Bacon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for the pasta water
- 1 pound pasta
- 6 medium artichokes
- 2 lemons
- 8 ounces bacon, cut into 1″ pieces
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
- Trim the artichokes and put them in the lemon water.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Cook the bacon in a large lidded skillet with 1 Tablespoon of the oil and the garlic about 5 minutes, until most of the fat has rendered.
- While the bacon is cooking, slice the artichokes into 1/2″ slices, then add to the bacon when it’s done, along with the juice of a lemon, the pepper flakes and salt. Cover the pan and cook gently until the artichokes start to soften, about ten minutes.
- By now your water should be boiling. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- When the the artichokes have softened, add about 1 cup of the pasta water to the skillet and simmer uncovered another ten minutes.
- When the pasta is done and the artichokes are tender, add the pasta to the skillet by just scooping it up with a spider or slotted spoon. Drizzle the last 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over the pasta and and add the fresh parsley, stirring everything together.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, then serve.