The weather's been sort of nice lately, so I've been thinking about lighter dinners. Last week, this recipe came across my inbox, via my Serious Eats newsletter. Artichokes make me nervous, since I'd never cleaned one before, but I thought it sounded good nonetheless. I printed it out and made a mental note to start keeping my eye out for artichokes.
In what can only be called a master stroke of serendipity, on my trip to Trader Joe's a day or so later, the produce case was chock full of artichokes - both regular-sized and baby. I couldn't resist the babies. They were really just so cute, especially for a kind of ugly food (or any food at all, for that matter). So I bought a box.
Unfortunately, a later trip to Ceriello's yielded no fresh pasta (none for another six weeks - SIX WEEKS -thanks, local Italian market!), but I picked up some De Cecco fettucine, a chunk of Pecorino Romano and a loaf of bread, as well as some really nice looking leeks from Steve the produce guy.
Ingredients in hand, I buckled down last night to make the pasta. The artichokes weren't nearly as difficult to deal with as I thought they'd be - maybe because they were babies (and I wasn't able to use any of the stem as a result), but overall, I was intimidated for nothing. Cleaning them took a little time, but nothing overwhelming.
I modified the recipe a tiny bit - just added more leeks, which I don't think was noticable - and we ate the pasta with a moderately crisp French white.
And it was really good. Actually, the last bite was even better than the first; it rapidly grew on us over the course of dinner. The meal was filling without being heavy and had great flavor. The lemon was dominant, but not overpowering.
What started out as an experiment ended up being good enough for Cooper to actually remember to take the leftovers to work. Though I'm sure it'd be even better with fresh pasta (grumble). (Aside: How great is it that I actually feel like I can whine about not having immediate access to fresh pasta? That SO wouldn't have been the case just a couple of years ago.)
Verdict: Really nice spring dinner, or, as the recipe suggests, starter. I just might make it again.