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Pasta with Baby Artichokes
Ingredients: 12 fresh baby artichokes 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons diced pancetta 1 small onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced Pinch red pepper flakes 2 cups chicken broth 2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced 2 tablespoons butter 6 ounces farfalle or similar size pasta 4 to 6 fresh basil leaves, juienned Grated Parmesan cheese for serving
Remove and discard the outer leaves of the artichoke until you reach the pale green leaves. Cut the artichokes in half and remove the chokes. Place the artichokes in water with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta. Saute the pancetta until crisp; transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel lined plate.
Drain the artrichokes and pat them dry. Add the artichokes to the skillet with the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Saute the mixture for 2 minutes, just to slightly cook the onions. Add the chicken broth, cover, and cook for 10 minutes or until the artichokes are tender. Add the tomatoes and stir the butter into the sauce.
In the meantime, cook the pasta in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes less than the recommended time. Drain the pasta and add it to the mixture in the skillet; cook 2 minutes Add the basil leaves and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the crisp pancetta. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling.
Baby artichoke are not a separate variety, they're just a smaller version of a traditional artichoke. A baby artichoke's petite size comes from being picked from the lower part of the plant. They are easy to prepare and eat because they haven’t developed the fuzzy portion of the choke in the center. You prepare baby artichokes in the same way that regular artichokes are prepared. See our instructions for trimming an artichoke.
Sometime called "Italian bacon," pancetta is salt-cured pork belly. It isn't smoked like American bacon. It is rolled into a spiral loaf, and can be sliced or diced for cooking. Look for pancetta in your market's deli section.