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Springtime Spaghetti with Baby Artichokes and Herbs

Serves 4

Originally aired

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby artichokes, trimmed of outer leaves, stems and tops of larger chokes trimmed, very thinly sliced, no more than 1/8-inch thick
  • 2 small, ripe lemons, halved
  • 1/4 cup EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, cut into fine dice (optional, omit for a vegetarian version of recipe)
  • 4 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • Black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • A generous handful mint leaves
  • A generous handful flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a generous handful for tossing plus some to pass at the table
PREPARATION

Fill a large bowl with water. Squeeze lemons into the water and add them to bowl. Add sliced artichokes to bowl as you work so they don't turn brown.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.

Heat 1/4 cup EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, in a large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta, if using, and brown a couple of minutes. Add shallots and garlic, and cook 3-4 minutes more.

Drain the artichokes, discard juiced lemon halves and add artichokes to pan. Season with pepper. Raise heat a bit and saut until light golden at edges, 6-7 minutes. Add wine, stir and reduce by half. Cover pan, reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered, 5-6 minutes more. Season with salt to taste.

Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and cook pasta to al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking water before draining pasta.

While pasta cooks, finely chop the mint with parsley. Stack up the basil leaves, roll them into a log and thinly slice the logs of leaves across.

Uncover the artichokes and stir in the reserved starchy water. Bring sauce to a bubble, add drained pasta, mint and parsley. Toss to combine, 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat. Add a handful of cheese and basil to pasta and toss again to combine, serve immediately.

PRESENTATION
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