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Sunday, May 8, 2011

All About Artichoke

Recently I have been ordering dishes at restaurants that contain artichoke and I am just loving this veggie more and more!

It is delicious with pasta, pizza and salad.

Here are some great ways of using artichoke when making a meal.

Artichoke Lemon Pesto Piccolo (Bella Cucina Artful Food)
This can be used for dips, pasta sauces, pizza or bruschetta.

Roasted Vegetable Salad (California Pizza Kitchen)

A new salad on their menu that contains roasted artichoke hearts, asparagus, japanese eggplant, red & yellow peppers, corn and sun-dried tomatoes served warm over lettuce w/ Dijon vinaigrette and topped with avocado. YUM!

Spinach Artichoke Whole-Wheat Penne by Rachael Ray

Cook time: 20 min

1 lb whole-wheat penne pasta
3 tbspn extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 (15 oz) can or 1 (10 oz) box frozen artichoke hearts (defrosted, drained and quartered)
1 small bundle farm fresh spinach, stems trimmed
1 shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chicken or veg stock
Handful fresh mint leaves
Handful lightly toasted slivered almonds
Kosher salt
1 large clove garlic-peeled
Handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring up to boil to cook the pasta, season with some salt and cook to al dente. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water.

Heat 1 tbspn extra-virgin olive oil in medium nonstick skillet. Add artichokes to heat through and lightly brown at edges.

To clean spinach, fill sink with water, swish spinach around and let grit fall to bottom of sink. Dy leaves before using.

In the bowl of a food processor add the shallot, 1/2 cup chicken/veg stock, spinach leaves, mint, almonds and salt and pepper, to taste. If you have a hand held small-holed grater or a zester, grate garlic into the food processor. Adding a whole clove can result in stray big pieces of raw garlic, too bitter to bite down on. If you do not have a hand held grater, mince garlic and mash up into paste with a little salt. Turn processor on and add in about 2 tbspns extra-virgin olive oil.

Scrape the spinach pesto into the artichoke pan and loosely cover with foil. Bring mixture to a simmer over low to medium-low heat and cook for aout 2 minutes. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, the pasta and the cheese. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce and heat for 1 minute.

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