Every Spring season I look forward to two vegetables: asparagus and artichokes. And even though it is not summer, you can still find asparagus in the market. The season for artichokes, on the other hand, unfortunately never lasts long enough. Each year I make my favorite artichoke recipe: sauteed artichokes in lemon parsley sauce. This year I got a bit more creative with the recipe adding a fiesta of colors: bright red sun-dried tomatoes, deep green spinach and pasta to make it a complete meal.
These colorful components are seamlessly integrated with a bright lemony garlic sauce. This pasta can be made ahead of time, and makes for great leftovers.
Artichoke Hearts and Sun Dried Tomatoes Pasta
- 1 lemon
- 6 medium-sized artichokes
- 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, steeped in hot water for 5 minutes, drained and chopped
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2 cups cooked pasta
- Prepare the artichoke: Have ready a large bowl of water. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, cut off the stem near the base. Peel back and snap off the first 1 or 2 layers of leaves, then cut off the top one-third of the artichoke. Starting at the base, break off the tough outer leaves, snapping them downward, until you reach the tender, pale green inner leaves. Cut off the uppermost part of the artichoke again, leaving about 1 inch of leaves rising. Trim around the base to make a smooth surface, then cut the artichoke in half lengthwise. If the center choke has developed any prickly tips, scoop it out with the edge of a spoon. Cut each half lengthwise into 4 pieces and drop them into the lemon water. Repeat with the remaining artichokes. When all the artichokes are trimmed, drain and pat dry.
- Butter and lemon saute: In a heavy-bottomed large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and the artichokes and sauté until the artichokes turn lightly golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan, stirring to dislodge any browned bits from the pan bottom. Then add the stock, butter (if using) and salt, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the bases of the artichoke pieces are easily pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes.
- Finish: Stir in the parsley and sun-dried tomatoes. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the artichoke and sauce to a medium mixing bowl. Toss in the fresh spinach and pasta. Serve hot or at room temperature.