25 March 2010

baby artichoke pappardelle with arugula-pistachio pesto

baby artichoke pappardelle
Not sure what this means, but I dreamed up this dish while in a company meeting earlier this week. My mind tends to wander to food (you too?). Next to my work notes was a shopping list for my walk home: salty, pungent cheese and wide ribbony pasta. The dab of arugula-pistachio pesto--stirred into the pasta right after this photo was taken--was a lively counterpoint to the meatier main recipe.

Baby Artichoke Pappardelle
We're totally on an artichoke kick. Love the little thistles. They're the perfect match for this type of "clear sauce" pasta, where you use the pasta cooking water to pull the dish together.

-Serves 2-

5 oz. pappardelle or other wide pasta
2 rashers bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1-1/2 lemons
1 lb. baby artichokes (weight before preparation)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

1 c. dry white wine
sea salt and black pepper
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
good handful of grated pecorino
couple dollops of Arugula-Pistachio Pesto (recipe below)

METHOD: Prepare baby artichokes: remove tough outer leaves (down to tender yellow-green leaves), slice off top 1/2" and brown bottoms of stems, peel stems and cut into quarters. Hold in a bowl of water into which a whole lemon in squeezed.

Put a big pot of salted water on to boil. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, until it's almost done and crisp. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until garlic is fragrant. Add prepared artichokes and olive oil, turn heat to high and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until artichokes start to take on deep color. 

Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package directions. 

In the artichoke pan, pour in wine. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes, until wine is almost absorbed and artichokes are very tender. Uncover, add juice from remaining 1/2 lemon, plus the parsley, season with salt and pepper, stir and remove from heat. When pasta is cooked, reserve 1/3 cup cooking water. Drain pasta and immediately add to artichokes, stirring to combine. Add 1/2 the pasta water, 2/3 of the cheese, a little more olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Loosen with more pasta water if necessary (there should be a little clear "sauce" clinging to the pasta). Plate, sprinkling with remaining parsley and cheese. Drizzle with a touch more olive oil if you're feeling generous. Add a spoonful of pesto to each plate and serve.

Arugula-Pistachio Pesto
I whipped up this garlicky, yummy Spring pesto the other day in something like 1 minute. The kiddo was waking from a nap and I needed something standing by for lunch (I tossed it with some farfalle and asparagus). It's just that easy. I used baby arugula because that's what I had on hand. I'm sure teen or adult arugula would be just fine too. And, this is one of those "to taste" recipes (is that a contradiction?)... so just sample, tweaking the seasonings and lemon as needed.

1 large garlic clove, peeled
small handful shelled unsalted pistachios
huge handful (or more) baby arugula
1/4 c. (or more) good extra virgin olive oil (I'm currently really into Arbequina from Stonehouse)
big pinch sea salt
generous grind of black pepper
juice from 1/2 lemon
handful of grated parmesan cheese

METHOD: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the garlic until finely chopped. Add the pistachios and pulse until they're broken down but still retain big, chunky texture. Throw in everything else and pulse until the arugula is finely broken down. If needed, add more olive oil to make the texture a thick slurry... or however you like your pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning. Unlike basil pesto, you don't have to worry about discoloration, so just pop extras in the fridge in an airtight container. It'll keep for days and you can use it on everything.


  1. Come on now... this looks way better than the pesto pasta from Pasta Pronto.

  2. Ha! But I could never replicate the unnatural goodness of their G-bread. Mmmmmm


    ^that's pretty much all I can muster after seeing those tempting little curls of cheese....and that nomlicious little driblet of olive oil on the plate.



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