Carbonara with Artichokes
Tarragon combines with the flavor of artichokes for a stunning carbonara. Be sure to temper your egg yolks – that’s the key to the success of this dish!
- 3 medium artichokes, the size of lightly clenched hand, with tight leaves and healthy stem attached
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4-1/3 pound pancetta or guanciale, cut into small dice
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- A few grinds black pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as tarragon and/or parsley
Trim the artichokes down to pale leaves. Trim the stems of the tough outer surface with a vegetable peeler. Halve the artichokes and scrape out the spiny chokes with a spoon, then slice into thin wedges. Juice the lemon into a bowl of water and add the artichokes as you prepare them.
Warm the stock in a small pot.
Bring a large pot of water to a low, rolling boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil, three turns of the pan, in a large, deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the pancetta or guanciale and render the fat; remove to a plate. With a spider strainer, remove the artichokes from the lemon water and lightly dry on kitchen towel. Add them to the oil and lightly brown on each side, 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 2-3 minutes; add the wine and half the stock and cook for 8-10 minutes, partially covered, stirring occasionally, to cook the artichokes through. Add a few grinds of pepper and the pancetta or guanciale back to the pan; reduce the heat to a low simmer.
Salt the pasta water and cook the pasta to al dente.
Whisk up the egg yolks and temper with the remaining vegetable or chicken stock.
Drain the pasta or remove from the water and directly add to the artichokes. Add tempered egg to skillet and remove from heat,. Toss with half the cheese and herb or herbs of choice. Season with salt, to taste, and serve immediately.