Spaghetti with Artichokes, Garlic, and Parsley

Spaghetti e Carciofi

Preparation info

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By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

The suave delicacy of artichokes makes a luxurious pasta sauce that can be served with spaghetti—the pasta used for this dish in the far southern region of Calabria, where it is popular—but the sauce’s richness makes it even better served with fresh flat strand pasta such as fettuccine. In typical southern Italian style, this sauce is based on olive oil—pancetta is optional—but the cubes of cooked artichokes can also be simmered in cream to make a delicate cream-based pasta sauce.


artichoke bottoms (leaves trimmed off the sides, top two-thirds of the artichoke cut off) 4 large 4 large
juice of 1 lemon
olive oil (for cooking the artichokes) 2 tbsp 30 ml
extra-virgin olive oil or heavy cream cup or 1 cup 165 ml or 250 ml
garlic clove, finely chopped 1 1
dried spaghetti or other strand pasta or fresh fettuccine or other strand pasta 1 lb or lb 450 g or 675 g
finely chopped parsley (chopped at the last minute) 2 tbsp 30 ml
salt and pepper to taste to taste
freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano


  1. Toss the artichoke bottoms with lemon juice immediately and put the artichoke bottoms, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of the olive oil, and enough cold water to cover the artichokes by several inches in a large nonaluminum pot. Put a plate directly over the artichokes to keep them submerged. Simmer the artichokes for about 20 minutes from the time the water comes to a boil, until they can be easily penetrated on the bottom with a sharp knife. Drain and let cool.
  2. While the artichokes are cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil for cooking the pasta.
  3. Scoop the chokes out of the artichoke bottoms with a spoon and cut the bottoms into ⅓-inch (1 cm) dice. Toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) olive oil and reserve.
  4. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil or cream over medium heat in a pot large enough to hold the drained pasta. Add the garlic and cook until it smells aromatic, or until the cream thickens to a sauce-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook and drain the pasta.
  5. Stir the parsley and artichoke cubes into the sauce and bring it back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper, add the pasta, and toss. Pass the Parmesan cheese at the table.