Anelletti, Baby Artichokes & Carrots, with Ricotta, Lemon & Aromatic Herbs
Another improvised dish, full of the flavors of Sicily, based on a couple of traditions... but crazy and different- and delicious! Even if I do say so myself!
Artichokes are so well-loved down south, as are Anelletti, or little ring noodles, which are very, very Sicilian! Add to those sweet carrots, a little fresh ricotta, plenty of aromatic herbs and tangy lemon- and you have the taste of the sun, all in one pan and ready to be enjoyed!
Yes, indeed, I cooked this whole thing dish all in one frying pan, making sure that all of those exciting flavors cooked together and blended into something wonderful.
I needed just 2 baby artichokes, 2 small carrots, 1 shallot, 1/2 stalk of celery, 1 lemon, 1 heaped teaspoon of fresh Ricotta, and a few mixed herbs- in this case parsley, oregano, sage and thyme.
The result is tangy, almost sweet and sour, but with the richness of the artichokes and freshness of the herbs and lemon, it is a wonderful combination!
And yes, you could swear this is some dish from the old-days... inexpensive ingredients, simple preparation and filling as well! Just what the doctor ordered this evening!
Start off by trimming the outer leaves from the artichokes, cutting away the tough tops of the leaves and cutting them into quarters. Once you have them in quarters, it is easy to remove the "choke" with just 1 cut at the base of them and to lift it out. Dip them into lemon juice to keep them from discoloring and then cut each quarter into thirds... the thinner the slices- the faster they will cook!
Pop the sliced artichokes into a frying pan with a little olive oil and a few wedges of lemon and fry them until they are golden brown.
Whilst the artichokes are sizzling away, cut the shallot, celery and one of the carrots into a very fine dice, along with the stalks of the parsley, to be the "sofritto" . This will serve to give the dish its main flavor base. Cut the other carrot into thin slices- just to have a little variety in shape and texture.
Add the sofritto to the artichokes and let it sizzle along until the shallot and celery become translucent, then cover with boiling water and allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes.
After that time, add the noodles and top up again with boiling water. Season with salt and pepper and allow to boil away for a further 10-15 minutes, until the Anelletti are done. Add water as required, as the pasta will absorb plenty as it cooks, but only add as much as necessary, so that all of the flavor stays right there in the pan.
And around 15 minutes later, you should have something that looks as wonderful as this!
The last step is to add the Ricotta cheese and the finely chopped herbs. Stir these in quickly, add a dash of olive oil and serve immediately with a little freshly ground pepper.
The sweetness of the carrots and the mildness of the Ricotta balance out the tart, tangy lemon flavor and the minimal bitterness of the artichokes... and the result is lovely indeed!
So I hope that you will love it as much as I did too!