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Playing California Pasta with Artichokes and Almond-Citrus Pesto


  • 2 leeks
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 10 ounce box frozen quartered artichoke hearts, defrosted or 1 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley tops
  • 3 tablespoons (a small handful) slivered or blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (a rounded generous handful) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine


Serves: 4 servings


Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil for the pasta.

Trim off the root ends and top four inches of the leeks. Cut them in half lengthwise then into slices 1/4-inch thick. Wash them vigorously, separating the layers to free grit in either a colander under cold running water or in large bowl of cold water. Drain and pat dry.

Heat 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and artichokes, saut 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

Salt the boiling pasta water and drop in fettuccine.

Place zest, parsley, almonds, garlic and cheese in food processor and season with salt and pepper. Turn processor on and stream in 1/4 cup EVOO until it combines into a thick pesto sauce.

Add wine to the leeks and artichokes, and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the pesto sauce and a ladleful of starchy cooking water. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss pasta with sauce to coat evenly. Serve with Orange and Arugula Salad with Marmalade Dressing alongside and pass more cheese at the table for topping.