Pici with Artichoke Sauce

The sauce is flavored with guanciale, which is smoked hog jowls. You could substitute bacon or pancetta. For the artichokes, I used a combination of leftover artichoke hearts (from an appetizer I had made the night before) and store-bought artichoke hearts from Whole Foods. They sell 6-ounce packages of Cryovac-ed artichoke hearts in the produce section; the brand name is Monterey Farms ArtiHearts Fresh Natural Artichokes. You can buy them grilled, marinated, or plain. I used plain.


  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1/4 pound guanciale, finely diced
  • 3 or 4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 8 ounces cooked artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 pound pici
  • 1 cup grated caciocavallo or pecorino cheese
  • A handful of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Bring a pot of water to a boil.

In a large skillet, heat the EVOO (3 turns of the pan) over medium heat. Add the guanciale and render it until it starts to get crisp. Add the garlic, onion, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, stock, and artichoke hearts to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and let it just stay warm while you cook the pasta.

Salt the boiling water and cook the pici to al dente. Before draining, ladle out 1 cup of starchy pasta cooking water and stir it into the sauce. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce along with the cheese and parsley, tossing with tongs 1 or 2 minutes for the flavors to absorb.

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