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"I love artichokes, like, for real!" says Rach. "Today, we're working with the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and they sent over these beautiful artichokes because that's where nearly two-thirds of the world's artichokes are grown! These artichokes are from the town of Castroville, which is actually known as the 'Artichoke Capital of the World!'" Rach prepared them two ways: She used the little ones, roasted, in a lemony pasta with herbs and toasted pistachios and stuffed the big ones with a simple tomato salad served alongside a lemon shallot vinaigrette. YUM!
You can learn all about the new Monterey County Artichoke Trail, which features restaurants, farms and more, and plan a visit to the area at SeeMonterey.com/Artichokes.
For the artichokes, preheat oven to 425°F.
Fill a bowl with cold water and the juice of a lemon.
Trim tops of artichokes and a few of the tougher outer leaves. Use a vegetable peeler or small paring knife to trim the stems a bit. Halve the artichokes and place in water. Let soak a few minutes, then drain and pat dry on kitchen towel.
Arrange artichokes in a casserole or baking dish. Add the juice of a lemon, quartered, throw the lemon wedges into the dish, as well, and add EVOO and salt and pepper or red pepper. Roast about 30 minutes.
For the pasta, bring a pot of water to boil.
Heat EVOO over medium heat in large skillet and swirl in butter, then add garlic, red pepper (if using) and a sprinkle of salt and swirl a minute more. Add wine and reduce by half.
Salt water, drop pasta and cook a minute less than package directions. Reserve ½ cup water before draining.
Add lemon juice and the starchy water to sauce and toss the artichokes and pasta with the cheese and herbs. Top with toasted nuts and serve.