Springtime Spaghetti with Artichokes and Herbs
Discover the essence of springtime with this pasta dish flavored with the unique taste of artichokes browned and simmered in wine and seasoned with fresh herbs of parsely, mint and basil.
- 2 small, ripe lemons, halved
- 1 1/2 pounds baby artichokes, trimmed of outer leaves, and stems and tops of larger ‘chokes trimmed, very thinly sliced, no more than 1/8-inch thick
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1/4 pound pancetta, cut into fine dice (optional, omit for a vegetarian version of recipe)
- 4 large shallots, finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- Black pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- Salt, to taste
- 1 pound spaghetti
- A generous handful of mint leaves
- A generous handful of flat leaf parsley
- 1 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
- Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (a generous handful), for tossing, plus some to pass at the table
Fill a large bowl with water. Squeeze the lemons into the water and add them to the bowl. Add the sliced artichokes to the bowl as you work so that they don’t turn brown.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
Heat 1/4 cup EVOO, four turns of the pan, in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta, if using, and brown for a couple of minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes more.
Drain the artichokes, discard the juiced lemon halves and add the artichokes to the pan. Season with pepper. Raise the heat a bit and sauté until light golden at the edges, 6-7 minutes. Add the wine, stir and reduce by half. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 5-6 minutes more. Season with salt, to taste.
Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and cook the pasta to al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking water before draining the pasta.
While the pasta cooks, finely chop the mint with the parsley. Stack up the basil leaves and roll them into a log, then thinly slice the logs of leaves crosswise.
Uncover the artichokes and stir in the reserved starchy water. Bring the sauce to a bubble, then add the drained pasta, mint and parsley. Toss to combine, 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add a handful of cheese and basil to the pasta and toss again to combine, serve immediately.