Historical documentation indicates that the domestication of the artichoke began in Sicily around the 1st century, moving into the more northern areas of Italy and then from there into France around the 15th century and was finally brought over to the Americas in the 18th century. We have many different varieties of artichokes in Italy, some available in the fall and some in the spring. Beyond this artichoke pasta recipe, there are many specialties of the Roman kitchen including: Carciofi alla Romana (stuffed with parsley, garlic and mint and cooked in olive oil, broth and wine), Carciofo alla Giudia (fried whole in olive oil ’till crunchy like chips), Fritto di Carciofi (cut into pieces, dredged in batter and fried) and Insalata di Cariofi (cut into strips and eaten raw).
In the Easter season it is traditional to use vegetables like Artichoke and Asparagus which were once only in season at this time of year. This artichoke pasta recipe is one of our favorites, along with our asparagus pasta recipe.
Pasta al Carciofo (Artichoke Pasta)
Serves 4 people
400 grams (16 oz) long or short pasta
4 medium artichokes
1 meat cube
Salt and Pepper
1-2 cloves garlic
Chopped parsley and basil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup olive oil
Artichoke Pasta Preparation
Peel outer leaves off of the artichokes until you’ve arrived at the very tender part. Cut off points. Cut in half scoop out feathery centers and then cut into very small pieces. Place in frying pan with meat cube, dash of pepper, garlic (squeezed or finely chopped), chopped parsley and basil wine and olive oil and let simmer until the artichokes are tender. Put all in blender or cuisinart and cream (add water, oil or milk to correct consistency.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions. Before draining, reserve a cup of the water. After draining the pasta, return it to the kettle and over a low flame, toss with the artichoke sauce using some of the reserved water to keep it from getting too sticky. Serve with grated parmesan.