Artichokes

We all have childhood memories of eating something d’lish for the first time. For me, it’s fresh California artichokes introduced to me when I was 6 or 7 years old– as they were so fun to eat!


Photo from Simply Recipes

But if you didn’t grow up eating artichokes, they might seem a little intimidating at first. Rest assured, these funny looking vegetables are totally worth the effort. And with a little practice, it’s easy to become an artichoke expert.

The big globe variety lends itself to multiple cooking techniques- like boiling, steaming, or stuffed and baked. The heart of the artichoke is widely known as the best part, and often seen marinated or pickled. But baby artichokes are so tender you can eat the whole thing! Try incorporating them into crowd-pleasing favorites like my Chicken Parmesan Penne Bake with Fresh Herbs and Artichokes!

And don’t forget about the leaves! Plucked off one by one and dipped in butter, aioli or herbed lemon oil, then scraped across your teeth to get the meaty part. Yum! And don’t throw out that stem – it’s d’lish when peeled!

So enjoy some fresh artichokes during the peak of the season- you won’t be disappointed!

-Kathy

Chicken Parmesan Penne Bake with Fresh Herbs & Artichokes
Makes 6 to 8 servings

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms (about 10 ounces)
2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons flour
5 cups milk
1 pound dried penne pasta
1 1/2 cups fresh baby artichokes, trimmed, steamed until tender and quartered (or substitute 1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped)
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or dish or spray with vegetable-oil cooking spray.
In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter with the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken, sprinkling with the salt and pepper, for about 3 minutes, until the chicken turns opaque. Add the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes more, or until the mushrooms are limp. Add the garlic and cayenne and stir for about 20 seconds; do not let the garlic brown. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Immediately add the milk, whisking vigorously. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, for about 6 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside to let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions, or until just al dente. Drain well.
In a very large bowl, mix the pasta and sauce. Fold in the artichokes, herbs, mozzarella, and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan until well combined. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pasta is heated through, the sides are slightly bubbling, and the top is golden brown.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table Cookbook

Posted by Kathy on September 28th, 2017  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Recent Posts

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