It was a weekend of firsts…
The first time I made gelato using an ice cream churner (more about that in my next post); the first time in their 18 year history the Fremantle Dockers made it to an AFL premiership (a frustrating but well fought battle – next year, boys, next year…); the first time I cooked kale, this year’s ‘It food’ (not entirely sure what all the fuss is about?); and my first time preparing fresh artichokes.
I’ve bought bunches of fresh artichokes in the past with the intention of turning them into dinner but each time they’ve lived out their days as interesting floral centrepieces on my dining table.
This time, however, under guidance from Stephanie Alexander in her large tome the Kitchen Garden Companion, they were carefully shelled, petal by petal, to reveal their hidden tender hearts, destined for my plate.
I’m not sure the efforts of peeling, trimming, soaking and simmering were entirely worth the yield but the advantage of using fresh artichokes is most certainly found in their delicate flavour.
Whilst I’m a firm fan of jarred artichokes, their subtleties are somewhat overwhelmed by the acidity of vinergary marinades.
This is a lovely, easy pasta dish that allows the taste of the artichoke to shine through a classic base of olive oil, garlic and chilli. Kale makes a nice addition of greenery to the dish but could easily be substituted with spinach or cavolo nero.
This is not the time to use any old olive oil lying around the pantry; this is the moment to bring out that gorgeous but ridiculously expensive boutique brew from your last gourmet goodie splurge…
rustic olive oil pasta
3 fresh artichokes, prepared using the above method (or alternatively 1 cup marinated artichokes, drained)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups kale, roughly chopped
fusilli caserecci or other short pasta
zest from two lemons, finely chopped
juice from one lemon
sea salt and black pepper
fresh parmesan, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a large frypan over medium heat.
Add the chopped chillies and garlic and stir for one minute, allowing them to infuse the oil.
Add the artichokes, kale and lemon zest and toss through to oil to coat the vegetables. Turn the heat to low and stir occasionally while cooking the pasta.
In a pot of boiling salted water, add the dried pasta and cook until al dente.
Drain the pasta and add to the pan of artichokes and kale. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Divide pasta among serving bowls and grate a generous amount of parmesan over each.