Sunday, 23 June 2013

Lord of the Rings

Anelletti con Carciofini, Piselli & Pomodorini Secche
Anelletti with Baby Artichokes, Sun-Dried Cherry Tomatoes & Peas

Little rings of pasta, peas fresh from the pod, baby artichokes, sun-dried cherry tomatoes, mint, parsley and Parmesan cheese... now, I don't know about you... but that sounds like a dish fit for a king to me! Fortunately, there were no kings around this evening, so I got to enjoy this all by myself! And what a wonderful treat it was!

At the market yesterday, the artichokes and peas were brought together by fate, into crates stacked next to each other. And who was I to tear them apart? That would have been like adopting one twin... no, no, no! Some things just belong together! And being an honorable person, I took them both home with me and brought them together in this one yummy dish- which I just know you are going to love!

I have told you how to prepare these lovely, little baby artichokes before... but ok, you're twisting my arm, so I will tell you again! First of all, pluck away the toughest of the outer leaves and peel the stalk a little to reveal the tender, green inside. Next, cut away the top third of the artichoke, removing all of the tough ends of the leaves. Now cut the artichoke in half and take a look how much "choke" there is in the middle. If you look at the pictures, you will see that there is a small triangle missing from the inside of each artichoke- that is where the choke was. As you can see, there is not much missing from these artichokes at all... if they are young and tender, they sometimes have non at all. To remove the choke from these, one cut with a paring knife into the artichoke was enough and it lifted out very easily. 

The great thing about these small artichokes is that the are cooked very quickly, in just 10 minutes or so... the bad thing about the anelletti is that as small as they are, they do take rather a long time to cook for such a small pasta, at 10 minutes or so... Hey! Wait a minute! That means... OMG yes! They can be cooked in the same saucepan at the same time!

So into a saucepan they went for 10 minutes, pasta, artichokes and peas, with plenty of salt- all nice and tidy and convenient- and in the meantime, I was able to get busy preparing the aromatics to make everything taste truly wonderful!

I finely chopped 1 clove of garlic and finely sliced 1 Spring onion which I first split down the middle lengthways. You will have noticed that I like to use Spring onions (scallions), a lot- I prefer their milder, sweeter flavor, the fact that they cook much faster and also that they are much lighter and easier to digest. Next, I took 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes and sliced them up finely. I had lovely sun-dried cherry tomatoes, but of course the regular ones are perfectly fine too. And then my favorite herb to go with artichoke... mint, as well as a some nice, fresh parsley. I took a small handful of each and cut it up extremely finely, into a "chiffonade", ready to go... which was a good thing as the pasta, artichokes and peas were now ready!

I took the artichokes out of the saucepan and sautéed them briefly in a little olive oil along with the onion and garlic. After 3-4 minutes, I added the herbs and sun-dried tomato, poured in the pasta, along with quite a bit of the residual water and turned up the heat. I stirred all of the herbs in well and tossed things around until the water had almost evaporated away. I then added a small splash of white wine, an extra light drizzle of olive oil and turned off the heat.

Before serving, I added a very light sprinkle of nutmeg and stirred it in, then dished it up and added a generous pinch of coarsely ground black pepper and a sprinkle of parmesan. And yes... it was very, very nice! It sure looks it- don't you think?

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