October 31, 2015 — Italian
‘… If you like pasta, and you like artichokes… make this meal!’
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16 violetta artichokes or two small jars of preserved artichokes or two tins of artichoke hearts
250g egg pappardelle or tagliatelle
2 small onions
1 stick of celery
Dried chilli flakes to taste
2 garlic cloves
600g ripe tomatoes
2 tbs tomato puree
400ml light chicken stock
Small handful parsley
125ml virgin olive oil
2 bay leaves
2 tbs white wine vinegar
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In An Invitation to Italian Cooking, Antonio Carluccio recalls eating simple artichoke and pasta dishes in many restaurants throughout Italy. He says artichokes, tomato and pasta complement each other well. Indeed they do. This recipe based on his and is a regular in my repertoire – it’s one of my favourite things to eat.
Not long ago artichokes were scarce in the UK – those available were of the very large globe type. Their popularity seems to have been inversely proportional to their size. Over the years smaller and smaller types have become more widely available and are now commonplace. Here I use the smallest ‘violetta’ artichokes. I was alerted to their availability via friends who were shopping in Kingston market. ‘Artichokes 4 for a pound!’ came the text. By the time I arrived, (the next day), a crate of sad floppy ‘chokes were all that was left. But the upside was that the trader was happy to see the back of them and I took them away for a quid.
For a quicker version, use any of the preserved artichokes available in jars or cans. Avoid the chargrilled type as they give an unwelcome harshness to this dish. To cook the artichokes, I use Janet Ross’s collected recipes from Leaves from our Tuscan Kitchen originally published in 1899. She says this is one of the finest ways to eat artichokes. And who are we to argue?
*Do not be deceived into thinking that you can procure good olive oil by draining artichoke oil from jars. Best to treat it as the producers have, i.e. the lowest quality oil that the can be used without spoiling the contents and still make a profit. It will be a vegetable oil of some sort – or possibly a base refined olive oil – but it will not be the high quality artichoke-flavoured olive oil one imagines. Discard or keep for frying sausages and the like.
A perfect winter warmer – Cassoulet!
Try Dad’s loaded low-fat salsa quesadillas with The Laughing Cow Lightest x8 cheese.
An excellent way to turn a popular Italian slow food standard into an easy and quicker family classic.
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