Pasta with bacon, onion and... fresh artichokes

Discussion in 'Recipes' started by chrisbelgium, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    I found some very small fresh artichokes in my "etnic" foodshop, our supermarkets don't carry these. Their "bulb" is about a handfull, so much smaller than the fullgrown ones. There's much less waist in preparing these than the big ones too. It's a 2 persons recipe, I used only 4 artichokes, that's more than enough.

    Start by cutting a lemon in two. One half serves to rub immediately on the fresh cuts you make in artichokes. Squeeze the juice out of the other half in a bowl of water. This lemon water will keep the prepared chunks from turning all brown.

    Cut at least 1/3th from the top of the bulbs and throw it away. The green artichoke will now show some nice purple colored leaves in the core.

    Peel a number of the outer leaves so everything now looks fresh and new on the whole bulb. Use a very sharp paring knife to trim the bottom part and peel the thin stalk. Do keep the stalks on! Now cut from top to bottom through the stalks and again to quarter them. There may be a very little hay or beard or whatever you call it inside the core. You need to cut that out. Cut each quarter again from top to bottom another 2 times. You now have thin slices of artichokes. Put them in the lemon water asap.

    You can blanch these small artichokes, they are even eaten raw in salads. I chose to fry them in a pan with olive oil on low fire, together with 4 unpeeled cloves of garlic. The artichokes may take a while to soften. Sprinkle with lemon juice. I made this the day before and stored them in the fridge.

    Start cooking the pasta, I used a ribbon pasta but any one you like will do perfectly.

    In a pan with olive oil, fry some very thinly sliced halved red onion and equally very thinly sliced bacon. Do use a low fire and let it all fry a long time. Add a pinch of dried oregano. Bacon and oregano is a match from heaven! Also, add a tbsp of fresh chopped oregano and black pepper. When the onion and bacon is done, add a dash of white wine, let the alcohol evaporate and add 2 tbsp (or more if needed) of the cooking water of the pasta. Add a tbsp of good butter, let cook untill it forms an emulsion with the rest of the liquid. Add pasta and fold through the artichoke preparation.

    Plate, add parmezan cheese, a few turns of black pepper, drizzle of olive oil.

    One of the best tasting pasta dishes I ever put together. (Click on the image to enlarge)

    [​IMG]
     
    gourmetm likes this.
  2. shnooky

    shnooky

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    This sounds very different but good, I've never even come close to thinking of putting bacon in pasta, I can't really imagine how it would taste, the combination of everything anyway.

    Thanks for the recipe.
     
  3. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    People have been putting some form of bacon in their pasta for ages.  Italians use pancetta which is like cured bacon but not smoked.  Personally I'm not a fan of pancetta and so I use good old american smoky bacon for anything that calls for pancetta.  It's used in carbonaras, you can even put bacon in your mac n' cheese to jazz it up. 
     
  4. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    Couldn't think of a better answer KKV, thanks.
     
  5. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    I was going to make artichoke paella with chicken tonight.  Maybe I'll use bacon or prosciutto (which I can get more cheaply and conveniently than Spanish ham) instead. 

    Artichoke takes to garlic very well, and I'm more likely go that way than using lots of onions.   

    Artichokes are a tough pairing.  There's a flavor component in there which makes a lot of wines -- especially whites -- taste overly sweet, almost as though they were madeirized.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  6. pohaku

    pohaku

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    Try using Guanciale if you can get it.  Hog jowl cured like pancetta - not smoked.  Used for pasta all'Amatriciana.  Really great stuff.
     
  7. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Hmmm.  I say hmmm, and hmmm again.  Good thought.  Let's run the numbers. 

    Claro's has guanciale, but Claro's is almost ten minutes away and I don't need anything else they sell -- at least not today.  Tropicana, which has decent domestic "prosciutto," is about two minutes away and also has good produce -- including chokes.  It's not the deli Claro's is by any means, but Tropicana does have good, cheap Manchego, fresh batards, and a great selection of olives.  In other words, everything I need for tonight. 

    Guanciale, for all it's fatty goodness, doesn't currently reside in either of our refrigerators; but one of them does have a couple of "bacon of the month" offerings inside.

    Since the intended dish is paella con alcachofa, and I'm both enough of a Spanish food traditionalist and so lazy that schlepping an inch out of my way for anything non-Spanish is unlikely. 

    If I had guanciale, I'd use it.  But for today, it's a good choice for something else some other time.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  8. pohaku

    pohaku

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    Ahhh.  A man with two refrigerators.  I salute you!
     
  9. indygal

    indygal

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    Sounds great.  Might be worth a trip to the nearest Mexican grocer.   Around here, even pancetta made in Germany (cheaper than Italian) is too expensive, IMO.   (The German stuff is pretty good, though.)

    Can anyone recommend a good brand of that Chorizo?  The closest grocery to me sells some, but it seems way too greasy to me, and kind of bland. Looking for a better brand.  

    I LOVE artichokes, but shy away from them because there is entirely too much waste to them, IMO.  But if you say there is less waste to the smaller ones, I'll look for those and try them.   All our grocers sell artichokes, but they all seem to be very large to me. 

    D
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
  10. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Since you usually pay for artichokes by the piece, there's no waste in the financial sense.  Think of it as only buying the part you use, and think of the store as kindly including the trim as an extra special bonus.

    You eat and trim the same respective parts of a baby artichoke as you do a mature one (alright already, a mature artichoke's stem requires more peeling).  The idea that there's less waste to a baby artichoke is a bit deceptive.  You still have to trim the leaf tips, and take the choke; and you still can't eat the leaf mass, but only the base.

    You may want to look into frozen artichoke bottoms and/or frozen hearts.  They come trimmed and choked, requiring only a little extra clean up on your part, and there's very little waste.  They also tend to be less expensive, and -- let's face it --  good, fresh artichokes aren't that easy to find outside of California most of the year. 

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2011
  11. pohaku

    pohaku

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    Spanish or Mexican Chorizo?  They are different.  In my experience, Spanish is less greasy.
     
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    BDL.

    I have gone to using the frozen Arts. all the time because of labor, time and consistancy issues . I find they are tasty and not mushy for a frozen product. They come in a 2 Pound plastic pouch I.Q.F so I can take out what I want. I am not to big into frozen veges, but these I like. You made a , good suggestion to all.
     
  13. indygal

    indygal

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    I will look for Spanish chorizo, then.   I'm sure the local grocer sells Mexican type as there are all sorts of Mexican items in the store.  Stuff that I have no idea what you do with/to it to make it edible.

    BDL, thx for the tip about frozen artichokes!  I usually just skip the frozen food dep't for everything except peas.  I happen to like the tougher texture of frozen peas, and dislike canned ones.  Fresh are best, but we only get those for a couple of weeks a year.   I will look for frozen Artichoke hearts.

    DD
     
  14. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Spanish style chorizo is cured, air-dried and firm.  Mexican style chorizo is raw.  You can tell which is which by feeling the package.  Mexican chorizo is soft, like raw Italian sausage, Spanish chorizo is more like a soft pepperoni.  Spanish style is seasoned with more (and better) paprika than other chillies, Mexican style more other chillies than paprika.

    They're each made with more or less fat, depending on who makes them and for what purpose.  You can use Mexican style chorizo if you like, but you must pre-cook if for awhile (longer than you would Spanish), and it will break up into crumbles like browned hamburger.  

    If either style of Chorizo is too greasy for you, pour off some of the grease.  By the way, a good part of the reason for using chorizo is to use the flavored fat for any other browning, sweating the aromatics and so forth. 

    In many ways, the closest US supermarket equivalent to Spanish chorizo is pepperoni.  I wouldn't say you could swap with impunity, but there you go.  If the choice for this dish is between Mexican style chorizo and supermarket pepperoni, go with the Mexican. 

    You'll need to prepare Mexican chorizo before moving on to the rest of the recipe.  Take it out of the casing, and cook it in a pan at medium low, breaking up the sausage with a fork as you cook it.  Cook until nearly all the fat has rendered (about 10 minutes), reserve the meat and as much rendered fat as you think appropriate,  and discard the remaining fat.  You'll lose the Spanish chorizo's chunky texture, but make up for it in flavor.  

    Pepperoni requires some pre-cooking as well, but in enough oil to satisfy the requirements of the ultimate dish -- because pepperoni won't give up much fat on its own, but will flavor the oil to some extent.  The texture will not only be firmer than Mexican chorizo, but than most Spanish styles as well; and will probably be end up quite chewy. 

    BDL