There are a few tidbits from 20th century television that have left an indelible mark on my psyche. First, I still quack and refer to people as my “fine feathered friends” in honor of Batman’s nemesis, The Penguin. Second, I cannot drive through Beverly Hills without singing “and up from the ground came abubblin’ crude” in honor of the Hillbillies (noting that the Clampetts are still there, alive and well in spirit). And third, my favorite, I cannot look at an artichoke without thinking “Mighta choked Artie, but it ain’t gonna choke Stymie,” in honor of The Little Rascals. (Now, please don’t tell me that American culture is not in decline…)
If an Artie ever does choke me, it will be because I loved them too much. Fried, sautéed, baked, boiled, braised, roasted, steamed, stuffed, moussed, terrined, in soup, in stew, with lamb, with beef, with fish, shaved with Parmigiano… even fermented into the nasty and delicious Cynar. Big, small, baby, leaves, heart, and stem, I love artichokes. And when married with pasta? Try it, and you are certain to “Live Long and Prosper.”
Fill a bowl with cold water and the juice of one lemon. Remove the tough outer leaves from the artichokes. Cut off the stem. Place the artichoke on its side and cut off the tops of the remaining leaves. Cut the artichokes in half, length-wise, use a sharp knife to remove the fuzzy choke, and cut each side into thin pieces - depending on size, this will result in 4-6 slices per half. Place the pieces in the lemon water to prevent discoloration.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté the garlic in the olive oil until it begins to turn gold and add the broth. Add the artichokes and simmer for 20 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the parsley, salt and pepper to taste to the artichokes.
Cook the pasta until almost al dente (about 2 minutes less than package directions), drain, and add it to the artichokes. Heat together for a minute.
Serve immediately with grated Parmigiano.
in lieu of broth, you can use water, or 1 cup of white wine, or a combination of liquids.
Ed Garrubbo, Editor