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Pasta-less Italian

August 4, 2010 by Joan Nova in Italian, Vegetables | 21 Comments

Did you ever see an artichoke so beautiful you could not pass it by? Did you ever bring home a single artichoke that weighed 21 ounces? Ooh, what a treat!

I steamed, marinated, and ultimately grilled it, serving it up with an anchovy-caper-lemon aioli. And if that wasn’t wonderful enough, I paired it with a spicy caponata topped with creamy burrata and parmesan crisps.

Even though the FOODalogue kitchen goes Italian more meals than not, I’m sending this particular meal over to my friend, Val of More Than Burnt Toast. Val has been creating personal challenges for herself and in anticipation of the movie Eat Pray Love, she’s invited others to join her in celebrating the cuisine of Italy.

Vegetables and pastas are the stars of the Italian kitchen. In fact, the two in combination are my favorite supper. This started out as a vegetarian, pasta-less meal; however, during the preparation, I opted to include anchovy in the dipping sauce and to add some crumbled sausage in the caponata. But they were clearly additives.

After the usual trim of the top, stem and leaves, I steamed the artichoke with a couple of cloves of garlic and half a lemon in chicken broth. Once it was tender, I drained it, halved it, scooped out the prickly center and brushed it with a mix of evoo, balsamic, the garlic it was cooked with, and s+p. Since I don’t have an outdoor grill, I decided to ‘grill’ it under the broiler in the oven.

Anchovy-Caper-Lemon Aioli
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tin anchovies
1 teaspoon capers
1 small clove of garlic
juice of 1/2 lemon

Ingredients were blended until emulsified.

I love Caponata and make it frequently in one form or another. Sometimes, I go strictly vegetarian; sometimes I flavor it with anchovies or, as I did this time, with leftover Italian sausage.

The dish was finished with fresh creamy Burrata cheese and fresh parsley.

This meal served 2 (we devoured the whole artichoke) with ample caponata leftover for additional meals. Next time it will not be pasta-less. :)

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. It looks so good! I especially love the idea of the aioli!

  2. Liz says:

    Looks delicious! I’m sure it was.

  3. Fran says:

    Grilled artichoke is darn good. I make it often and it leaves me craving more. I usually make plain old garlic aioli, but next time I’m going to try your recipe. It all looks great!

  4. Katie says:

    This dish looks absolutely divine! I enjoy caponata, too. It’s easy and healthy, and I bet it pairs wonderfully with the artichoke.

  5. As always an amazing dish and photos Joan.Thank you so much for joing in the Eat, Pray, Love challenge with me. I knew with your feet planted firmly in Italian roots you would come up with something delicious.

  6. norma says:

    I wish I had been your guest. This is one of my favorite. When I find them I usually buy six…prepare them and eat them up all week.

  7. christine says:

    Stunning photographs Joan! absolutely stunning!

  8. I Sicilian says:

    I love artichokes and especially grilled. Beautiful pics

  9. Anna says:

    I love artichoke, I use to be scared of cooking it, but since I learned I can’t stop. Loved the Anchovy-Caper-Lemon Aioli. Yummm.

  10. Lazaro says:

    I am not a big artichoke fan, but prepared by you I would give it a go. Fantastic aioli dipping sauce.

  11. DJ Karma says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    I love artichokes, but I’m always left wanting more after I finish the heart!

  12. I’m very excited by that huge artichoke Joan! And I adore the caponata with sausage. Must check out Val’s event too.

  13. sippitysup says:

    Very creative, It’s sort of like default pasta (of course as you say with out the pasta) GREG

  14. The aioli is wonderful – brings back childhood memories. My mum loves artichokes and growing up she’d fix these and we’d have them with melted butter.

    BTW, I love caponata too. It is one of my all time favorite foods. When Mum visits I must make your lovely aioli.

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  15. Anamaris says:

    mmmmgood! Quiero mi alcachofa!

  16. absolutely delicious! love the artichockes and the sauce!

  17. Dorothy says:

    It was the best. Loved it.

  18. lynn says:

    Mmm, your artichoke meal looks outstanding. We grow artichokes in our yard and have quite a few during the months of May and June. But none the size of this one! This year I tried making my own mayonnaise for the first time and it was absolutely wonderful. Your anchovy/caper/lemon sauce looks sooo good.

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