Artichoke Hearts in Tomato Sauce~

28 08 2010

Regardless of the fact that this was the first week of school, people still needed to eat.   Thankfully, there are a lot of Italian recipes that are incredibly quick and easy, not to mention healthy, that can be put together in about half an hour.  Being a working woman…that simplicity is huge in my life!  This is one of those “by the seat of my pants” recipes I just kind of tossed together because “it should work.”  That’s one of the reasons I love having a full pantry.  I can stare at it until I find something that should work, and by gosh, it usually does!

Artichoke Hearts in Tomato Sauce did work.  This dish is so simple it’s almost sinful.  For two people, you need a small jar of marinated artichoke hearts, a few fresh tomatoes, say…a pound?, half an onion, a clove of garlic, a dozen fresh basil leaves, a half cup of parmesan (freshly grated) and half a pound of thin spaghetti.   Put your pasta water on first.  If you’re using fresh tomatoes, we’ll have it do double duty.  We’ll dip the tomatoes in the hot water to peel the tomatoes before cooking the pasta.   While the water is heating…  Slice the onion into thin half rings, and chop the garlic.  Slice the basil into a chiffonade. Chop or slice the drained artichoke hearts lengthwise.  Set aside.  Peel the tomatoes by dropping them into simmering water, then into an ice water bath.  Slip the skins and discard.  Start the onions sauteing in a bit of olive oil, and give the tomatoes a whirl in a blender or food processor until chunky-smooth.   When onions begin to turn golden, add garlic.  When onions become golden, add tomato, artichokes and basil, a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Simmer until almost reduced by half.  Add salt to boiling water to season pasta, add pasta to boiling water.  When tomato sauce has reduced by half and is thickened, reduce heat to as low as possible to just keep warm while pasta is finishing.  Correct seasonings in sauce.   This sauce will be slightly sweet from the fresh tomato and have a bright flavor.  Add the parmesan cheese to the sauce just before you add the pasta to the sauce.  When pasta is cooked, drain quickly and toss in sauce.  A couple tablespoons of water from the pasta added to the sauce will help blend the two together.  Divide the pasta between two pasta bowls and pass additional cheese at the table.

Tasting Notes~
This is a keeper.  It’s so fast…so easy…so darn tasty…no meat…no effort…and did I mention that it was really good?  There was just the perfect amount of liquid in the sauce for the thin spaghetti to grab and soak up like long sponges, embedding the flavors all the way to their very hearts!  Now that’s what’s supposed to happen!!  I didn’t hear the slightest mention of anyone missing having a hunk of protein…  We used the tomatoes out of our garden and our basil.  The tomatoes are San Marzano tomatoes we’re growing here.  And canning as fast as they grow.   I’m so glad I’ve been cooking with the group at Cooking Italy!  I’m getting more and more comfortable going out on my own with ingredients now!