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Playing Carbonara with Artichokes


  • 3 medium artichokes, the size of lightly clenched hand, with tight leaves and healthy stem attached
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/3 pound pancetta or guanciale, cut into small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • A few grinds black pepper
  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as tarragon and/or parsley


Serves: 6


Trim artichokes down to pale leaves. Trim stems of tough outer surface with a vegetable peeler. Halve the artichokes and scrape out the spiny chokes with a spoon then slice into thin wedges. Juice lemon into a bowl of water and add artichokes as you prepare them.

Warm stock in a small pot. 

Bring a large pot of water to a low, rolling boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, heat olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, in a large, deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Add pancetta or guanciale and render the fat; remove to a plate. With a spider strainer, remove the artichokes from the lemon water and lightly dry on kitchen towel. Add them to the oil and lightly brown on each side, 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir 2-3 minutes; add wine and half the stock and cook 8-10 minutes partially covered, stirring occasionally, to cook the artichokes through. Add a few grinds of pepper and the pancetta or guanciale back to the pan, reduce heat to low simmer, 

Salt the pasta water and cook pasta to al dente

Whisk up the egg yolks and temper with the remaining vegetable or chicken stock. 
Drain pasta or remove from water and directly add to the artichokes. Add tempered egg to skillet and remove from heat,. Toss with half the cheese and herb or herbs of choice.  Season with salt to taste and serve immediately.