Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Linguine with artichokes and pancetta

First things first, farm update. Team Pure Land have been busy li'l bees, we tackled all kinds of projects this winter. We trenched, laid, and buried a few thousand feet of irrigation pipe to make watering infinitely easier. We planted 38 peach trees and started 119 varieties of baby veggie plants, now ready to go in the ground. We've about finished our greenhouse, and it hasn't flown away yet! The design is almost complete for our barn / shop / walk-in cooler / apartment (with TWO bathrooms!!!) and soon we'll start swingin' hammers. We have spreadsheets and fun new equipment and terrace layouts and pest control strategery and new friends up the yin-yang. In short, there's a lot going on, and with Spring springing all around... things are about to get nuts. Wouldn't have it any other way!

My intention with this blog is to give you ideas of what to do with our produce as it comes into season and off the fields, into your homes. Unfortunately there's nothing ready to eat yet, so let's just pretend I grew these little artichokes. Aren't they cute? Thank you.

When your mother texts that she randomly bought a whole bunch of baby artichokes and asks if you want some, you say yes, then figure out what to do with them. I turned to this recipe from my fantasy BFF, Mario Batali. Pork + pasta + wine + artichokes + cheese? That doesn't suck! I modified the proportions a bit; Mario called for just 8 baby artichokes and 2 ounces of pork for a pound of spaghetti... I prefer more stuff than that. It turned out perfectly, a gloriously springy dish. The only thing I would change is a handful of parsley at the end. Get some baby artichokes from your mother or farmer's market and partake.

~1/4 lb pancetta, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 shallot, minced
~ 8 wee baby artichokes, trimmed up like so, sliced 1/4" thick and dunked into a bowl of water with a lemon squeezed into it (to prevent browning they say, but mine browned a bit anyway)
1/4 cup dry white wine
4-6 oz strand pasta (I had linguine)
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Put a pot of water on to boil for your pasta. Cook it for one minute shy of the package directions, retain 1/4 cup of the cooking water, drain and set aside.

While that's happening, get your pancetta rendering in a little olive oil in a pan (that has a lid) over low heat. I like to let that go 5-10 minutes, then turn the heat up to start crisping the pancetta. Chop your garlic and shallot and add them to the pan, allowing to sweat another couple minutes. Now add the sliced artichokes, cover, and let cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add the wine, cover, and let cook another 5 minutes. When the artichokes are cooked through, add your drained pasta with the 1/4 cup of cooking water, toss toss toss, and taste a strand for doneness. Add a good shredding of Parmigiano-Reggiano, then taste again and adjust seasoning with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top with more cheese. Sprinkle with parsley if you are smarter than me. YAY SPRING!

Serves 2, takes half an hour.

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