Spaghetti with Spring Peas and Artichokes

It's raining in Los Angeles today. Rain? In May? In Southern California? This just can't be! I mean, I bought Spring peas this weekend. As in those little nubbins of joy packed so neatly in their envelope of delicious Spring-iness. As in April showers bring May flowers. As in, no rain. We should be done with rain.

Guess not.

So, I made a Spring dish of Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Fresh Peas, Artichokes and Bacon. While it was raining outside. Someone please report this back to Mother Nature. Because she's obviously gone on vacation.

This dish is lovely, Spring-y, bright green and wholesome. It's the kind of dish I like to eat and then go on a long walk through the park. A walk through the park that looks green and lush and like Spring. Thus, not in the rain.

Recipe after the jump...

Spaghetti with Fresh Peas, Artichokes and Bacon

Serves 4

  • 16 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 cup cooked artichoke hearts
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups freshly shucked Spring peas (or frozen)
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 spring fresh thyme, stem removed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Start this recipe off by preparing your artichoke hearts. You can either use freshly cooked artichokes and remove the heart yourself, or use jarred or frozen artichokes. The fresh artichokes will have a lot more flavor, but this is definitely a big extra step, so prepare them whichever way it easiest.

To prepare the artichoke hearts yourself, begin by boiling a large pot with about one inch of water in the bottom, enough to reach just below a steamer basket. Remove the stems from the artichokes (unless they are big and meaty, then by all means you can eat the center of the stem), cut the artichokes in half, rub with a little lemon to prevent browning and place in your steamer basket. Squeeze the rest of the lemon into the steam water and then just toss the whole thing in. It will help the artichokes from browning throughout the steaming process.

Once you can easily stick the tip of a knife into the heart of the artichoke, remove them from the steamer and set aside. Anywhere from 10 - 15 minutes depending on their size.

Empty the pot and refill with fresh water, several cups worth in order to cook the peas and then pasta. Once at a boil, season with a generous handful of salt and add your freshly shucked peas. For fresh peas, plan on boiling them for 2-3 minutes until they lose their 'raw' flavor. For frozen, plan on a little less, or just until they are warmed through the center.

Remove the peas using a slotted spoon and set aside. Maintain the boil in the water and throw in your pasta. Whole wheat spaghetti will take about 7 - 9 minutes.

Next, fry your bacon in a skillet until crispy. Set aside and, once cool enough to handle, crumble it into pieces.

The artichokes should be cool enough to handle by this time. Use a knife to remove the outer leaves and inner thistle bit. Cut into about 1/2" pieces.

In the same pan, fry your shallots in the bacon grease. Cook until translucent. Continue at a medium heat and add the peas, bacon and artichokes and cook until completely warmed through.

When your pasta is cooked, drain reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Add the drained pasta and this water to your skillet. Toss with the olive oil, herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

This dish is great topped with Parmesan cheese and even some chopped chives would be nice. It's like eating Spring.