Friday, April 3, 2009

Baby Artichokes over Garden Pesto Pasta with Fresh Mozzarella

I have seen fresh baby artichokes in the store for years, but I always passed them up because I never knew how to prepare them. I couldn't figure out why anyone would want to get a tiny bit of meat from those tiny little leaves, and end up with a tiny little artichoke heart. That is not the case at all. You prepare them differently than larger artichokes. I must admit that I learned this by watching the Rachel Ray show the other day. She did a little segment on baby artichokes that was an eye opener for me.

With a sharp knife, simply slice off the upper half of the artichoke, and then break off any tough leaves from the bottom half. Peel and trim the stem. The rest is edible. No joke! You can even eat the choke because it is tender. As you trim the artichokes, toss them into boiling lemon water. Let them cook for about ten minutes or until tender. Remove them and let them cool. To serve slice in half, and saute´in a tablespoon of butter until brown.
I served them over a bed of pesto pasta. The pesto was made from a handful of flat-leaf parsley and assorted herbs from my garden like thyme, oregano, and rosemary. I tossed all of that into my food processor along with a handful of raw almonds, the juice from a meyer lemon, salt, and olive oil. I pulsed the processor until all of the ingredients were finely chopped. Toss pesto with cooked pasta and fresh mozzarella pearls. Top with sauteed baby artichokes and enjoy.

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