July 1st, 2013
This is my new favorite cupboard pasta. Other than having fresh mint on hand—which I try to do in the summer to garnish berries, mix into smoothies (like this Strawberry, Lychee and Mint Smoothie), and flavor simple syrup—this is an entirely pantry meal.
And, yes, you should stock your pantry with artichoke hearts and black olives. Because, when you do, you can whip up a dinner like this in just about a half hour.
All hail a well stocked pantry!
This pasta is light and lemony, a perfect summer’s night meal. I used a little bit of crushed red pepper to give this dish heat, but you’ll enjoy it plenty even if you leave it out. If you like fire, though, skip the relatively mild pepper flakes and use a fresh red chili pepper.
I have to admit that it took a lot of convincing to get the hungry baby to try a piece of artichoke—and once he did he thoroughly and completely rejected it—but he slurped down the citrus slicked fettuccine like nobody’s business. If you serve this with a simple side of sautéed or steamed broccolini, or something that your little one will eat, they’ll get a simple, complete meal even if they end up picking through the pasta.
Fettuccine with Artichokes, Mint and Olives
(can be shared with kids 8+ mos)*
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste
1 lb of fettuccine
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 (13.75-ounce) cans artichoke bottoms (you can substitute artichoke hearts), cut into 1/2″ pieces
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
1/4 cup pitted, cured black olives
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
Grated Parmesan, to serve (optional)
1. Bring one gallon of water seasoned with 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Add pasta, stir, then begin measuring cooking time; cook pasta 2-3 minutes fewer than indicated on the package. Drain pasta saving 1/2 cup of cooking water. Do not rinse the pasta; set aside.
2. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium low. Once the oil and butter begin to sizzle, add smashed garlic and red pepper flakes. Swirl and allow garlic to sauté for about five minutes, then remove garlic from the pan. If the garlic begins to turn golden brown before five minutes, remove it earlier. Discard the cooked garlic.
3. Turn heat up to medium and add artichoke pieces. Sauté for about 2 minutes before adding lemon juice and 1/4 cup pasta cooking water; cook for a minute, allowing the butter/oil, lemon juice and water to come together into a sauce. Add cooked and drained pasta and toss to coat well. After another minute, remove skillet from heat.
4. Toss black olives and 3/4 of the mint with the pasta. By this time, the pasta should be well coated with sauce, with a little extra sauce coating the bottom of the pan. (If the sauce is still to watery, put the pasta back on the heat for another 30-60 seconds. If it’s too dry, add a bit more cooking water and put it back on the heat for about a minute.) Taste and season with salt. Serve garnished with remaining mint and grated Parmesan.
*Note: To share this with little ones, be sure to cut pasta, artichoke pieces and black olives into age appropriate bite sizes, or puree into an age appropriate consistency. You may also consider skipping the hot pepper flakes. Otherwise, the lemony, briny flavor is a great way to stimulate your little ones palate!