Artichoke Sauce with Spaghetti – effortless sophistication
Globe Artichoke is tricky to pair with wine, and the usual culinary advice is don’t. Putting them together usually results in metallic or bitter flavours. It’s why the dressing for globe artichokes often employs the sharpness of lemon juice or vinaigrette. Wine-friendly they’re most certainly not.
However, marinating artichoke hearts changes their flavour profile, still recognisably artichoke, but now with added wine compatibility. You’ll find these in bottles and cans readily available in supermarkets and delis. Some come in brine, others in olive oil. Their tender texture and flavour make them an ideal ingredient for pasta sauce.
The following recipe for artichoke sauce is simple, easy and healthy. It also takes very little time yet appears to be highly sophisticated. And then all you need for a perfect wine pairing is a chilled white wine with plenty of fresh and crisp acidity. There are plenty of those featured on this website, such as Verdicchio. Alternatively, choose a Vermentino or Assyrtiko.
The recipe below allegedly serves four, although it’s so moreish that it might only satisfy two hungry diners! All measures given are approximate, and you can vary according to taste. As usual, use the best ingredients you can. The preparation and cooking will take no more than 20 minutes.
280 g bottled or canned marinated globe artichoke hearts, drained
Two garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Small bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped. Set some aside for garnish
20 g grated parmesan (or vegetarian alternative). Set some aside for garnish
20 g pine nuts (toasting is optional)
Finely grated zest and the juice of half a lemon
Four tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
500 g dried spaghetti
(A variation could include a little double cream if you want to create something more decadent and less healthy).
Put everything apart from the spaghetti (!) into a food processor/blender and add two tablespoons of water. Whizz it up into a fine paste. Then add a generous pinch of black pepper, and pulse briefly to mix it in. If the artichoke hearts come in brine, you might not require extra salt, so taste first.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted water. When cooked, drain, reserving a little of the cooking water.
In the pan, add the sauce to the pasta with a splash of the cooking water. Mix well, then serve in bowls topped with a garnish of parsley, Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil.
PS: of course, hardcore readers will prefer to marinate the artichoke hearts themselves. Or grow them. On you go.