As a gift for returning to the east coast, against all my better judgment and wishes. I was handed 90 degree weather, intense humidity.
And a pager.
I thought the pager was going to make for a really handy paperweight until I was cooking dinner around 3PM yesterday. And it had the audacity to go off.
Apparently, someone thought that I would be useful in the midst of some kind of medical emergency. (That someone was wrong because all I did was fling the little piece of vibrating plastic across the room and hide in a corner whilst shaking uncontrollably.) Strange. And unusual.
After some reflection and a whole lot of hyperventilating and shrieking, I’m fairly sure that it was a mass page that was sent to everyone in the hospital. Partially because my friend Amma got paged also and she convinced me that that was the case. And partially because I’m barely allowed to touch patients, so the idea of me being able to do anything for anyone, but especially someone who is coding, is particularly ridiculous.
Still. It was unnerving.
Especially given the baby artichoke debacle of 2011.
In which I took exactly 18 baby artichokes. And ruined them.
I’m truly unsure what went wrong. I cut off the leaves, removed the tough outer shells, sliced off the tips. And yet. They were inedible.
I’ve never made inedible pasta before. It was a severe blow to my ego.
And it made me think.
How different are a knife and a scalpel? Should I be trusted around either of them?
And do you even want someone at your bedside who can take such cute little thistles and do such dastardly things to them that they can’t even be stomached anymore?
These are the philosophical questions with which my heart wrangles.
I’m sharing this recipe with you anyway.
Because I think the problem with it. Was me.
I was a baby artichoke virgin prior to this. And we all know that the first time is always awkward and unsteady, body parts flailing around in all sorts of uncomfortable ways. A learning experience, to be sure, but not necessarily something you look back on and swoon over.
What? Umm yeah. Of course I’m still talking about artichokes.
You people have gutter minds.
But you probably also have artichoke skillz. Which is really why I keep you around.
Pasta with Lemon, Baby Artichokes and Asparagus
Serves 3, adapted from Cooking Light: Cooking Through the Seasons
1/2 lb uncooked pasta
2 1/4 cups cold water, divided
3 lemons, divided
2 lb baby artichokes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Set aside and keep warm.
2. Combine 2 cups water and 2 lemons worth of juice in a medium bowl. One artichoke at a time, cut off the stem to about 1/4-inch of the base. Peel the stem. Remove the bottom leaves and tough outer leaves, leaving tender heart and bottom. Trim about 1 inch from the top of the artichoke. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise. Place the artichoke halves in the lemon water.
3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Drain and dry the artichokes. Add the artichokes to the pan. Cover and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until artichokes are golden, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Place artichokes in a large bowl.
4. Place pan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup water and asparagus to the pan. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until crisp tender. Add asparagus, parsley, and lemon zest to artichokes and toss. Add pasta, reserved cooking liquid, salt and pepper to the mix. Toss well. Add lemon juice to taste. Divide pasta among serving bowls and top with parmesan cheese.