Tiny artichokes—about 2 to 3 inches long—are ideal for this recipe. The larger an artichoke grows, the more developed the inedible choke becomes and the tougher the leaves that surround the choke. You can make this recipe with all but the largest globe artichokes. Whatever type of artichokes you are using, the end result should be artichokes that almost ‘melt’ into the sauce. That’s why I have called for a variable in the amount of stock that you may need to add while the sauce simmers.
- 10 small fresh artichokes (about 1 ½ pounds)
- Juice of one lemon
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing the pasta, if you like
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
- 1 to 1 ½ cups Chicken Stock or canned reduced-sodium chicken broth (Chicken Stock Recipe)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or less to taste)
- 1 pound orecchiette pasta
- 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Clean the artichokes putting the pieces in acidulated water as you go. When all the artichokes are cleaned, drain them thoroughly and slice them very thin.
Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Scatter the garlic over the oil and cook, shaking the pan, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the artichokes and crushed red pepper and season lightly with salt. Stir well to coat the artichokes with oil, and cook, stirring often, until the artichokes are softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of the chicken stock, add the mint and parsley and lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer. Cook until the artichokes are very tender and the liquid is reduced by about half, about 10 minutes more. Add the remaining stock as necessary to keep the artichokes moist as they cook.
Stir the orecchiette into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, 8 to 10 minutes.
If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, fish the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer and drop it directly into sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt if necessary. Pour in a drizzle of olive oil, if you like. Remove the skillet from the heat sprinkle the grated cheese over the pasta and toss to mix. Serve immediately in warm bowls.