Pasta with Artichokes

Dear Reader, I have been remiss. I have not yet told you what I did with those wonderful artichokes I got at the Farmer’s Market a couple of weeks ago. In fact, it has been so long that I’ve gotten artichokes in the two subsequent weeks. To make it up to you, here are two simple and delicious artichoke recipes you can try at home.

I know that fresh artichokes can be daunting; my sister says she won’t use them because of the work involved. It’s true that they require some prep (and produce some waste), and if you don’t feel up to it there are good quality canned artichokes available to you. I would recommend getting the kind canned only in water, so you can control the flavor, but any good ones would be fine.

Cleaning small artichokes is a little easier than large artichokes, since you don’t have to remove any of the fuzzy choke. Start by peeling away the outer leaves until all you see is bright green. Use a serrated knife to cut the top off of the artichoke, and a little bit off of the end of the stem. Use a paring knife or a peeler, get the rest of the dark green outside off of the stem and the base. This should leave you with something that resembles a wine glass, minus the flat bottom. Cut it in half lengthwise, though if it’s small enough you can leave it whole. Drop it in a bowl of water mixed with lemon juice, to stop it from oxidizing.

Both of the pastas above used similar methods. Start by browning the artichokes in olive oil, then adding some chopped onions. For one I added some canned tomato, salt and pepper, and some marjoram. For the other, I added fresh lemon juice, dried chile flakes, and some of the pasta cooking water. Turn down the heat and let the artichokes soften. Add the pasta and cook everything together; finish with a splash of olive oil, parmesan cheese, and some fresh marjoram.