April 25, 2011

Spaghetti with fennel, artichokes, arugula, and olives

I was looking for a vegetarian pasta dinner that didn't have a very heavy sauce. This pasta was inspired by a recipe in Clean Food. It is a simple and flavorful pasta dish that can be easily made for a quick weeknight dinner. I love, love traditional spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs and I also love alfredo sauce, but sometimes I just want something a bit different. Pasta is so versatile and can be enjoyed without heavy sauces. This dish combines lemon, salty olives, and fresh vegetables. The flavors of the ingredients are strong and pair perfectly with pasta. Serve this pasta dish topped with a sprinkling of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and some toasted garlic bread. This dish will serve about 4 people. 

Spaghetti with fennel, artichokes, arugula, and olives
1 lb spaghetti
extra virgin olive oil for cooking
1 medium fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup extra dry vermouth (or white wine)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 jar (16 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
about 3 handfuls baby arugula 
sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
fresh grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a large skillet, warm about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. When warm, add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally until it just begins to soften. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the vermouth and deglaze the pan. Add the lemon juice and zest along with some salt and pepper. Cook until it begins to bubble, the reduce heat to low.

Cook the pasta to package directions. Reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water when draining.

When the pasta is almost finished cooking, add the artichoke hearts and olives to the skillet. Stir until combined. Add the pasta to the skillet along with the arugula and about 1 cup of the pasta water. Toss until the pasta is coated and the arugula begins to wilt. If the pasta is still dry, add the remaining pasta water. Stir in the butter and season again with salt and pepper. Serve hot topped with Parmesan cheese.

What was I cooking one year ago? egg tart with ramps and wild mushrooms

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