Sunday, August 29, 2010

10 minute pasta - Artichoke hearts

I'm a huge fan of making Pasta sauces that take just about as long as it does for the water to boil and pasta to cook.  Pasta dishes like this are definitely my "2 minute noodle" or "cheese toastie dinner" type meals.. I don't really like to eat take-away, and am not a huge fan of ready meals (unless they were ones that I prepared, at least partially).

You can serve with grated parmesan or (as in this case) shaved bottarga!
This sauce falls under this category.

The start of it is that our family love, love LOVE artichokes.  There is no substitute for fresh artichoke hearts, the tinned ones just aren't tender enough, and the brine they are stored in completely changes the flavour.  Don't get me wrong, i LOVE tinned artichoke hearts, but not for a pasta sauce.  I've heard you can get frozen ones, and these would be ideal.  I'm lucky enough to have parents with foresight (as I hope to have in spring, as I'll be here when the season arrives!) to buy lots of extra artichokes, and save the hearts in freezer bags in portions.  I can't stress how awesome it is to have the taste of springtime, any time of the year! :D 

As I said, this sauce is one of those 10 minute supersauces.

I use a largish frypan to make the sauce for one simple reason - i add the pasta to the pan to stir around before serving.  

Here goes:

to serve 2 (increase or decrease as necessary)

About 150-200 grams artichoke hearts, chopped.
Couple of cloves of garlic, chopped finely.
1 small onion, chopped finely.
Small bunch parsley, chopped roughly.
Olive oil, salt, pepper.
Small amount of milk (i used Zymil semi skimmed for the lactose intolerant amongst us)
Grated Parmiggiano or finely sliced Bottarga, depending on what you feel like.
Pasta - we used Spaghetti.

Prepare the pasta water (remember to salt it very well!).  I normally add the pasta just after I chuck the artichoke hearts, in the  below step.

In a medium-large frying pan, sautee the onions and garlic in olive oil on a medium-low heat until slightly golden, then add artichoke hearts.  Stir around for a little while then add some milk and reduce the heat. Season with pepper and a little amount of salt (u can always add more later). 

When the pasta is almost done but still quite "crunchy" (about 2 minutes less than stated cooking time), drain (reserving a cup or so of the liquid) and throw into the frypan, adding enough liquid for it to be easily stirred around and for the pasta to continue cooking.  Add plenty of freshly chopped flat leaf parsley, and mix around. Season to taste.

Serve with an additional sprinkle of good olive oil, and either grated parmiggiano OR sliced/grated bottarga.  Since bottarga isn't something that i come across every day, i used that.  nom!


  1. Do you buy whole artichokes to get the fresh artichoke hearts from?

  2. hey Cola, yes we do, we eat the leaves and save (some of) the hearts. U can also apparently soak the artichokes then slice off the leaves (but omg! i love eating those delicious leaves!!!)