Fettuccine with artichokes

I had a variation of this dish at a non-descript restaurant in Rome almost 5 years ago. It was my last night in the city. I was staying a few blocks away, and needed a quick dinner before going back to pack for a return flight early the next morning. It’s odd that a meal that didn’t thrill me so many years ago, could taste so good in my memory, and become the object of a bizarre craving, bolstered by a craving for another meal, a version of fettuccine alfredo my mom used to make. Instead of heavy cream, she used sour cream. Is this wrong? I don’t know. It’s actually kind of brilliant. Sour cream is lower in calories, more flavorful, and requires less salt for the dish overall.

Artichokes are not in season in the winter, I know. And Roman cuisine is extremely seasonal. But what I was craving, above the freshness of Spring vegetables, or proper Italian recipes, was the texture and flavor of preserved artichokes with a compliment like the sour cream and then the garnish of rich nutty parmigiano reggiano and bitter parsley.

Fettuccine with artichoke cream sauce

Ingredients

  • 500 grams fettuccine (any color, variety)
  • 1 can or jar artichoke hearts
  • 1 half a white onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • chicken broth
  • white wine
  • parmigiano reggiano (grated)
  • parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Cook pasta as instructed on the box (aprox 10-12 minutes for al dente). Meanwhile mince onions and garlic, and saute in a broad pan  in a little olive oil and butter with a pinch of salt until translucent. Deglaze with a little wine. Rinse the artichoke hearts (if straight from the can) and cut up into relatively bite-sized pieces. Add to the onion and garlic and saute. When the pasta’s cooked, reserve a few tablespoons of the cooking water and add to the artichoke/onion pan. Add  the cooked pasta to the mixture. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Add sour cream, a splash of chicken broth, a generous grating of parmigiano, and some chopped parsley. Serve immediately.

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