Artichokes Roman Style
It is artichoke season, and I am wishing I was in Rome where I would be having an artichoke feast. Romans grow artichokes in abundance and cook them in the most delicious ways. I would go to a favorite trattoria, such as Da Giggetto in the Ghetto or perhaps La Campana on Via Campana. I would order fried artichokes for a starter, then have fettuccine with artichokes, then La Vignarola, a stew of artichokes, fava beans, pancetta and peas. And for a salad course, artichokes ala Romana, cooked right side down with herbs and olive oil.
I won’t be in Rome until the middle of June, so to satisfy my artichoke craving, I think I will make Fettuccine with Artichokes for dinner tonight. Here is my recipe, which originally appeared in my book A Fresh Taste of Italy. I don’t serve this pasta with grated cheese, though I do like to add a little bit of butter at the end to make it slightly creamy.
FETTUCCINE WITH ARTICHOKES
3 medium artichokes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound fresh fettuccine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Cut off the top 1/2 to 3/4 inch of the artichokes with a large, sharp knife. Rinse the artichokes under cold water, spreading the leaves open. Be careful to avoid the little thorns on the remaining tips of the leaves. Bend back and snap off all of the dark green leaves until you reach the pale yellowish cone of tender leaves at the center of the artichoke. With a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife, peel off the tough outer skin around the base and stems. Leave the stems attached to the base. Trim off the ends of the stems. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise and scoop out the fuzzy chokes with a spoon. Cut the artichokes into thin lengthwise slices.
2.Pour the oil into a saucepan large enough to hold the cooked pasta. Add the onion, parsley, and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onion is golden, about 15 minutes.
3. Add the artichoke slices, wine, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook until the artichokes are tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, bring at least 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons of salt, then the pasta. Stir well. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the pasta is al dente, tender yet still firm to the bite. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the pan with the artichokes.
5. Add the butter and a little of the reserved cooking water if the pasta seems dry. Toss well. Serve immediately.