What is good with pasta, is its incredible versatility. Pasta has the ability to be accommodated in infinite ways and you can easily keep them in stock for disposal at any time. Thus, it can be both a quick and simple dish (yet tasty).
Cardoon is native to the western and central Mediterranean regions, where it was domesticated a long long time ago. It is a very close species to artichokes. Artichokes are grown for eating their buds when cardoons are preferred for their stems. Cardoons stems are often steamed of braised and offer an artichoke-like taste.
This spaghetti recipe with cardoons is very refined and needs to be organized in advance. Cardoons are cooked, lightly marinated then tossed with al dente pasta.
Ingredients list for Spaghetti with Marinated Cardoons recipe
For 4 persons:
- 1 1/3 lbs (600g) chardoon stalks, prepared
- 1lb (500g) spaghetti
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 small red pepper, chopped, or a pinch of cayenne pepper powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- Salt and pepper
1. Preparation of cardoons
Before starting to cut and clean the cardoons, prepare a pot of salted water and the juice of half a lemon (you can also use milk, but having to discard milk after cooking seems to be a pure waste!). Next, remove the cardoons leaves and spines that are on the sides of the stems with a knife. Brush the stalks to remove the fluff, or peel them. When peeling the cardoons, you certainly will be rewarded with a fresh and pleasant smell of first green shoots in the spring.
Then, cut the cardoons crosswise into pieces of 1/4 inch thick (1/2 cm). Discard them immediately in water with lemon juice because they darken quickly in contact with air. Cover the pan, bring to boil and simmer for 1 hour or more, until the cardoons are tender. When over cooked, cardoons tend to lose their bitterness. Drain. They are now ready to be marinated.
2. Preparing the marinade for cardoons
In a small saucepan, heat the oil with the lemon juice, garlic, chili and basil. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, remove from heat. Put the cardoons in a bowl and pour over the marinade. Salt and pepper, mix well and marinate for at least one hour (preferably for 4 hours).
3. Preparing spaghetti
Cook the spaghetti al dente in plenty of salted water (1 liter per 100 grams of pasta). Drain and toss with the chard and marinade. Sprinkle with fresh basil leaves if you have some, and serve immediately!
(photo by Diana cook)
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