Artichoke carbonara (sorry, rubbish pic)

As you know, I’m trying to be frugal about my gastronomic adventures so, with this in mind, I’ve been avoiding some of my usual indulgences. Deli bits and pieces are my absolute favourite sort of nibble but olives, charcuterie and antipasti are just a bit “spendier” than I can justify at the moment. So when I saw artichokes in a tin in Sainsburys for less than £2 I thought it would be worth a try.

I assumed they would be a bit rubbish so thought the best thing to do would be to give them a supporting role in a recipe rather than the main event. So I made a classic carbonara and added them to the frying pan with the pancetta to cook them through before adding in the pasta. The end result was actually pretty good. The artichokes were a little watery-er than is ideal but I think I should probably just have let them drain for a little longer. And the flavour was good – not as meaty as usual perhaps – but really not bad at all for a quick, cheap fix. I wouldn’t use them as a substitute for their pricier cousins on an antipasti plate but I’d definitely use them again as part of a warm salad or something like that. Anyway, they worked pretty well in this pasta dish – a good one for quick-mid-week dinners as it takes literally only as long as the pasta takes to cook.

Artichoke Carbonara
Enough spaghetti for 2
Handful of pancetta cubes/lardons
2 cloves garlic
2 eggs beaten
Big old handful of pecorino
A tin of artichokes
Get the pasta water on while you grate a big pile of pecorino and beat together 2 eggs in a little bowl. Put the pasta onto cook. Fry the garlic in a little olive oil until soft, throw in the pancetta cubes and brown gently. Drain the artichokes thoroughly and cut into bite sized pieces. When it looks like the pasta is nearly ready (remembering it’ll continue to cook in the frying pan) put the artichokes into the frying pan with the garlic and pancetta and fry gently. Using a big spoon, scoop up the pasta and a little pasta water and add it to the frying pan. Turn the heat off now and add the beaten eggs and a big handful of cheese. Mix thoroughly, moving the eggs around to cook very gently in the residual heat of the pan creating a creamy sauce. Serve immediately with lots of black pepper and extra cheese for sprinkling.


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