Pasta With Fresh Artichokes
1 box good whole-wheat spaghetti*
2-a gazillion cloves garlic, crushed and chunked
4-5 medium or 2-3 large fresh artichokes, prepared (instructions below)
Handful fresh parsley
2 fresh lemons
½-1 cup vegetable stock or pasta cooking water
1) Prepare the artichokes. This is the hardest part of this recipe, and the only real work. Set up a bowl of ice water and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into it. Cut the stem off the artichoke (if you are willing to take the extra time, take a good peeler and peel the stem of the dark green until only the light green remains, toss the light green stick into the bowl.) Remove the leaves from the artichoke by working around it in concentric circles. Once you get toward the inside, cut off the top, cut in half, and then scrape out the choke and remove remaining leaves. Put the heart in the bowl, and continue with remaining artichokes. Set aside. (the lemon water keeps them a pretty green).
2) Chop garlic and parsley, and start the pasta to boil.
3) Put a large pan over medium heat, add oil. Drain the artichokes, dry carefully (water in oil spits) and then chop into bite-sized chunks. Sauté until there is a nice dark glaze on them.
4) Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and a dash of butter and cook until you can smell the garlic and everything is good and hot. Add broth or water, scrape to deglaze the pan, and cover to let steam, 7-10 minutes.
5) Check the artichokes for doneness. They should be fork-tender, but not mushy. I like them with a bit of crunch. When they seem done to you, add the juice of one, to one-and-a-half lemons, add parsley and a thumb-sized chunk of butter. Toss.
6) Drain pasta, reserving a bit of cooking liquid, put back in the cooking pan, put artichoke mixture over, toss to mix. Serve with fresh parmesan cheese.
*Whole wheat pasta can be gummy and is not always the best flavor for a particular sauce. This recipe is actually best with whole-wheat, it compliments the artichoke beautifully.