The artichoke is technically a thistle, but its prickly exterior and leathery leaves aren’t enough to deter devoted fans. Underneath that tough exterior lies a tender, delicately flavored and meaty heart. Once the artichoke is cooked, whether by steaming, boiling or roasting, the outer leaves can be stripped away, one by one, and their succulent tips devoured, revealing the hidden prize inside. The artichoke lover’s dilemma: eat the heart now or save it for another use? It’s often too much to resist.
If you absolutely can’t resist devouring the entire artichoke at once, take the easy road (as we did) and use frozen artichoke bottoms. They’re already cooked, peeled and are ready to use in your favorite recipes. Prepare to be surprised – the quality of these frozen chokes is so good that you probably won’t be able to tell the difference.
The following recipe, pairing the mild, but earthy flavors of artichoke and dried porcini mushrooms, is simple, yet incredibly satisfying. It’s easy, too, taking only a few minutes to prep, plus a few more of cooking time before it’s ready to enjoy. The sauce can be made in the same amount of time that it takes to cook the pasta. Then it’s toss, serve and enjoy.
Bucatini con Funghi e Carciofi (Pasta with Porcini and Artichokes)
We like to use bucatini when we make this dish, but any long pasta, such as spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine, will work just fine. We prefer bucatini because we enjoy the fat, spaghetti-like strands and the tiny hole that runs the length of the pasta sucks up and holds the delicate sauce perfectly.
- Bucatini, spaghetti or fettuccine, cooked, to serve two
- 1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 shallots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 4 fresh or frozen artichoke bottoms, cooked and sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup veal demi-glace (substitute beef, chicken or vegetable stock)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 2 cups very warm water. Set aside to rehydrate for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Rinse the mushrooms well under cool running water, drain again and chop coarsely.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the chopped porcini mushrooms and the sliced artichoke pieces, and continue to cook for 2 -3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the 2 cups of reserved porcini soaking liquid and the demi glace/stock; stir in the tomato paste. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer until sauce begins to reduce and thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and toss with the pasta and chopped parsley. Add freshly ground pepper and salt to taste.
Allow to stand for a few seconds while the pasta absorbs some of the sauce. Serve with generous amounts of Parmesan cheese.
Many of the ingredients used in this recipe, and other recipes on the Earthy Delights Blog, can be purchased online at our retail website, Earthy.com. We welcome you to visit the Earthy.com website to view our extensive selection of hard-to-find ingredients and our complete Recipe Collection of over 500 tested recipes.
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