Wednesday, September 5, 2012

California Pasta with Artichokes and Almond-Citrus Pesto

This past month our supper club theme was "California" cooking.  The host couple, which wasn't us usually makes the protein. In my search for a recipe to make I found all kinds of good "main dish" tacos, cioppino, grilled pizza.  Unfortunately, I had a hard time finding a side dish.  After many internet searches I finally narrowed it down to a California Cobb Salad and then I found this recipe.  It has California right in the name and used lots of ingredients from California.  I should have stuck with the salad!  I just wasn't a fan of this dish.  I think a large part was due to the fact that this pesto was made from parsley and I'm not a parsley fan.  As my husband commented, "Well, if you don't like parsley why did you pick this recipe?"  I told him that I like pesto and I thought that the parsley flavor wouldn't be so strong mixed with the other ingredients.  I was wrong though.  The parsley flavor was pretty strong.  Note to self, do not make any more dishes, especially pesto, that calls for this much parsley!  If you're a fan of parsley though this may be right up your alley!  My husband ate all the leftovers and the kids surprisingly ate you never know!

California Pasta with Artichokes and Almond-Citrus Pesto
recipe from The Rachael Ray Show, April 30, 2008

This recipe is dedicated to Maria Shriver. I wrote it in honor of her visit to our show. It highlights many ingredients that California is the proud producer of: artichokes, citrus, almonds, olive oil, garlic and of course, fine wine.

2 leeks
2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 10 ounce box frozen quartered artichoke hearts, defrosted or 1 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
Salt and pepper
1 pound fettuccine
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 cup flat-leaf parsley tops
3 tablespoons (a small handful) slivered or blanched almonds, toasted
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
1/3 cup (a rounded generous handful) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup dry white wine

Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil for the pasta.

Trim off the root ends and top four inches of the leeks. Cut them in half lengthwise then into slices 1/4-inch thick. Wash them vigorously, separating the layers to free grit in either a colander under cold running water or in large bowl of cold water. Drain and pat dry.

Heat 2 tablespoons EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and artichokes, sauté 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

Salt the boiling pasta water and drop in fettuccine.

Place zest, parsley, almonds, garlic and cheese in food processor and season with salt and pepper. Turn processor on and stream in 1/4 cup EVOO until it combines into a thick pesto sauce.

Add wine to the leeks and artichokes, and cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the pesto sauce and a ladleful of starchy cooking water. Drain pasta and add to skillet. Toss pasta with sauce to coat evenly. Serve with Orange and Arugula Salad with Marmalade Dressing alongside and pass more cheese at the table for topping.

Family Rating: So-so.

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