Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pasta of the Month - A for Artichokes

This pasta has everything you need.  A little crunch from the walnuts, an earthy goodness you get from the garlic, cheese and sun dried tomatoes and the main ingredient, artichokes.  Originally from California, I grew up on artichokes.   My mom used to stuff the leaves with a combination of raisin bread and Roquefort cheese.  So good.

When my husband and I moved to Colorado, (we lasted only 13 months) finding fresh artichokes were difficult.  I remember, at the checkout, the checker asked what they were and how did I cook and eat them.  I assumed everyone knew what an artichoke was.

Living in Nevada, artichokes are "like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get"!  It seems that sometimes they're flavorful and other times they're dry and tasteless!  So, to still get my dose of artichokes without the guessing games, I resort to canned or frozen when they aren't in season.  This is one of those "keeper" recipes that I'll make over and over.

Ingredients: (4-6 servings)

1/2 box or 1/2 lb pasta (I used bow ties or farfalle)

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, sliced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

 12 oz bag of frozen artichokes, cut up.

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted or not, coarsely chopped

2 T fresh basil, chopped

a dash of red chili pepper flakes

2 ladles of pasta water

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Boil water for the pasta in a large pot.  In a large skillet, saute the garlic, sun dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and artichokes in 1/2 of the oil.  Continue to cook on medium heat until the artichokes are cooked through.    When the pasta is cooked, reserve 2 ladles of water and drain.  Add the pasta and pasta water to the skillet.  Add the basil, cheese and the remainder of the oil.  Stir well and serve with the walnut garnish. (you can mix a few of them in, too)  Optional:  a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil before serving is good, also!  Enjoy...this is an easy one.

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