I've been interested in trying fried artichoke slices in pasta for awhile now. I saw a picture of it years ago and it just looked so satisfying without being too filling. After a little experimenting, I found that adding some pancetta with a bunch of roasted tomatoes with some parmesan cheese gave the pasta more heft and flavor. To bring in some light lemon flavor, I cooked the artichokes in aciduated water before frying and added some lemon breadcrumbs at the end. Paired with a salad, it makes for a great spring or summer pasta dinner. —TheWimpyVegetarian
pint container of grape tomatoes
juice of one lemon
6 - 8 cups
citrus champagne vinegar
garlic cloves, smashed
few sprigs fresh thyme
few sprigs fresh mint
fresh bread crumbs from day-old bread
zest from 1 medium lemon
parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
package spaghetti noodles (or enough for 4 people)
Make the roasted tomatoes: Preheat oven to 275F. Slice tomatoes in half and toss with garlic and olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste. Place them on a baking sheet, all turned with the cut side facing up. Roast for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hour or until they are somewhat shriveled up and a little dry to the touch. Don't roast them until they are complete shriveled up or the pasta dish will taste a little dry. Set aside.
Prep and pre-cook the artichokes: Snap off all the leaves from the artichokes and discard. Trim the base with a paring knife until smooth and all dark green leaf spots where the leaves were attached are removed. Remove the choke with the paring knife and a grapefruit spoon. In order to keep the artichoke bottoms from turning brown, soak each artichoke bottom in lemon water until ready to cook.
Bring the water, lemon juice, white wine and champagne vinegar to a boil. Add the thyme, mint, garlic, 1 Tablespoon of salt and artichoke bottoms. Cook the artichoke bottoms until just tender. Remove from the aciduated water and dry. When cool enough to handle, remove any last part of the choke with a grapefruit spoon, and slice into thin slices.
Add enough water to the aciduated water for the pasta and bring back to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according the package directions.
Chop the pancetta into 1/2" pieces and fry until crispy. Drain and set aside. Pour out the bacon grease.
Make the lemon breadcrumbs: saute the bread crumbs in 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes until just starting to change color. Add the lemon zest and 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Saute another 4-5 minutes until crispy and a deep golden brown.
Heat oil in the same pan used to fry the pancetta. Lightly salt and pepper the artichoke slices and dust with Wondra flour. When the oil is hot enough to make them sizzle, fry the artichoke slices - about 4 minutes per side - until they are a light brown and a little crispy.
Assemble the pasta: toss the artichokes, roasted tomatoes, pancetta, lemon breadcrumbs and chopped parsley with the pasta. Top with a little parmesan cheese.