April 4, 2019
Pasta with Fried Artichokes
12 ounces spaghetti
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, drained and patted dry, then thinly sliced
Parmesan, to serve
For the pesto:
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup Parmesan
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic
3 1/2 ounces spinach
Prepare the artichokes: Fill a large bowl with ice water and add the juice of half the lemon. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil.
Using a sharp knife, cut off the bottom third of the artichoke stem and top. Peel off the hard outer leaves, until you reach the soft middle leaves. Use sharp kitchen scissors to snip off the thorns from the remaining leaves. Using a peeler or paring knife, trim the first layer of skin away from the artichoke stem and tear off any small or dead leaves. Drop the artichoke straight into the ice water to stop it discoloring.
Transfer artichokes to the boiling water and blanch for 3 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water then drain again. Pat each artichoke dry and slice it into quarters. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the hairy choke, and discard.
Make the pesto: Put the pine nuts into a small frying pan and toast them lightly, stirring often, until golden brown. Transfer them to a food processor, along with the Parmesan, garlic, olive oil and spinach. Process to a smooth pesto then transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Cook the artichokes and pasta: Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Drain, but reserve some of the cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add half of the artichokes to the pan and cook over medium heat, turning often until they are brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels while you repeat with the second half. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
Transfer the cooked pasta into the frying pan along with half of the pesto, the sun-dried tomatoes and one small ladle of pasta water. Toss in the pan until the sauce is well mixed through and sticking to the pasta. Serve bowls of pasta with the artichokes on top. Shave extra Parmesan on top to serve.