Tag Archives: artichoke hearts

Tuscan Spring Soup

In Tuscany, the advent of spring doesn’t signal the end of soup season, like it might here in the Northeast. But it does mean the soups that are served take on a different tone. Tender vegetables meet a rich, meaty broth in this light Tuscan-inspired soup—just perfect for a not-too-hot Spring evening.

And while a hallmark of Tuscan cuisine is its rusticity, this soup is all about luxury. In stark contrast to the typical hearty Tuscan soups, which often cleverly repurpose scraps, only the finest ingredients go into a typical “garmugia”—a pairing of pricey meats and the season’s freshest vegetables.

In garmugia, meat is a seasoning, not the main event. To that end, Milk Street omits the veal, as the combination of beef broth and pancetta (plus a simmered rind of Parmesan) gives the soup a wonderfully savory depth that enhances the vegetables without competing with them.

For their clean vegetal flavors and year-round availability, this soup opts for scallions, asparagus, artichoke hearts and frozen peas. By cooking the vegetables in sequence—starting with the sturdiest, ending with the most delicate—each ingredient retains its character, ensuring that they’re not overcooked. The artichoke hearts are simmered first, then the asparagus, followed by the peas, all topped with a finishing sprinkle of scallion greens for a burst of zingy freshness.

“Each bite of the finished soup is a spoonful of spring in a bowl, no matter the season.”

Milk Street instructs you to simmer the optional Parmesan rind into the mix to boost the umami notes. Canned artichoke hearts do well here, but frozen artichokes also work—just defrost and pat dry before use (you’ll need about 2 cups). To serve on the side, make savory Parmesan toasts that are perfect for dipping into the broth.

Don’t use ultra-slender asparagus, which will end up overcooked. Look for spears about the size of a pencil. To retain the bright-green color of the peas, don’t allow the soup to boil after the peas are stirred in.

Tuscan Spring Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more to serve
  • 3-4 oz. pancetta, chopped
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced, whites and greens reserved separately
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1½ qts. low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 chunk Parmesan rind (optional), plus ½ oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated (¼ cup)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. crusty white bread, sliced ½ inch thick
  • 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered
  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths on the diagonal
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed

Directions

  • Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the element. In a large saucepan over medium, combine 1 tablespoon of oil and the pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta has rendered its fat and begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the scallion whites and thyme. Cook until the scallions are lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add the broth, the Parmesan rind (if using) and ½ teaspoon pepper, then bring to a boil over medium-high.
  • Meanwhile, brush both sides of the bread slices with the remaining 3 tablespoons oil, then place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan, then broil until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
  • When the soup reaches a boil, add the artichokes, reduce to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  • Add the asparagus and cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is just tender, 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Stir in the peas, reduce to medium-low and cook, stirring, until the peas are heated through, about 3 minutes; do not allow the soup to boil.
  • Off heat, remove and discard the thyme and Parmesan rind (if used). Stir in the scallion greens, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, drizzle with additional oil and serve with the Parmesan toasts.

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Recipe by Shaula Clark for Milk Street

Low-Carb Spinach Artichoke Chicken

Spinach artichoke chicken is an easy and delicious keto skillet recipe. It features crispy chicken thighs in a rich cream sauce with spinach, artichokes, garlic, and parmesan. However, the original recipe only called for half (which we deemed too paltry) of the spinach and artichokes so we doubled that, as noted in the list below. Also, we added two more thighs to total eight, allowing two per person for a dinner feeding four.

This AMAZING recipe takes all the rich flavors of a great spinach artichoke dip and turns it into a full meal. And it’s an easy one pan recipe that’s ready in about an hour. Truly delicious! Typically, I am more of a white meat fan, while The Hubs prefers dark meat. Next time I may include a mix of thighs and chicken breast quarters, but again, maybe not…

Instead of frozen, fresh spinach works in this recipe as well. You obviously won’t need to thaw and squeeze it; simply chop it up and stir it into the sauce before transferring the dish to the oven.

Low-Carb Spinach Artichoke Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth
  • ⅔ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 12 oz. artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Pat the chicken thighs dry and sprinkle all over with the Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large (at least 12″) ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown. (Our chicken skin took 8 minutes to get a nice golden brown.)
  3. Flip the thighs over and cook another 4 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Drain most of the fat from the pan and discard.
  4. Add the garlic to the pan and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the broth to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a simmer. Add the cream and Parmesan and continue to cook until slightly thickened, another minute or two.
  6. Stir in the chopped artichokes and the spinach until well combined. Place the chicken thighs on top of the cream sauce and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through to a temp of 170° to 175°, and the sauce is bubbling.

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Roughly adapted from an online recipe from All Day I Dream About Food

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Olives

Another one-pan wonder, and who doesn’t like that for ease of clean-up and prep? It works as well for company as it does for a weeknight dinner. According to ATK’s “Complete Mediterranean Cookbook”, cooking the tenderloins until buttery-smooth is key, and roasting them atop a bed of vegetables buffers the heat to ensure juicy meat all the way through, which is rubbed with herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper.

The Mediterranean seasoning inspired the selection of vegetables: sweet, delicately flavored fennel, earthy artichoke hearts (frozen, to keep things easy), and briny olives (which I doubled the quantity). After softening the fennel in the microwave, it was tossed with the other vegetables and olive oil, and the mixture was spread into the roasting pan (or rimmed baking sheet), placing the tenderloins on top.

The vegetables are nearly cooked when the pork is done, so remove the meat to a moated cutting board and tent with foil. To the cooked veggies, add in juicy halved cherry tomatoes and lemon zest, and let them finish in the oven. After 10 minutes, the fennel should be tender, the tomatoes softened and releasing their juices.

NOTE: If using frozen artichoke hearts, be sure to thoroughly thaw and pat them dry; otherwise their moisture will inhibit the browning of the roasted vegetables.

Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Fennel, Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Olives

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • (12- to 16-oz.) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 2 tsp. herbes de Provence
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large fennel bulbs, stalks discarded, bulbs halved, cored, and cut into ½-inch-thick strips
  • 12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 18 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with herbes de Provence, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
  2. Combine fennel and 2 tablespoons water in bowl, cover, and microwave until softened, about 5 minutes; drain well. Toss drained fennel, artichokes, olives, and oil together in bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread vegetables into 16 by 12-inch roasting pan and lay pork on top, tucking under the thin part of the tail. Roast until pork registers 140 to 145 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes, turning tenderloins over halfway through roasting.
  4. Remove pan from oven. Transfer pork to cutting board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir cherry tomatoes and lemon zest into vegetables and continue to roast until fennel is tender and tomatoes have softened, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from oven. Stir parsley into roasted vegetables. Slice pork into ½-inch-thick slices, and arrange vegetables and sliced pork on a platter, pouring any accumulated meat juices back over the plated pork and vegetables.

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Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Rigatoni with Artichokes, Basil and Pecorino

Fresh basil, I like that this pasta recipe uses a lot of it. At the time we made the entrée, our garden was brimming with the herb, one of my all-time faves. Freshly picked, the aroma alone titillates the senses.

This recipe is Milk Street’s weeknight adaptation of the pasta fresca con carciofi e pecorino. The flavors are bright and fresh, and the prep is a breeze (chopping the basil is as arduous as it gets here). In 30 minutes or so, you have a tasty and filling entrée that’s sure to please.

As per Milk Street’s instructions, be sure to purchase jarred marinated artichoke hearts—they offer much more flavor than canned or frozen. You will need three 12-ounce jars to get the 3 cups drained artichokes called for. The hearts usually are halved or quartered; there’s no need to chop them after draining, as they will break apart during cooking.

About those artichokes, if you happen to have jars marinating in mostly oil, go ahead and use that in place of the additional EVOO listed in the ingredients. Trader Joe’s fits that bill, while Cento for example has too much vinegar in the mix.

Our box of rigatoni was only 12 ounces as opposed to the 1 pound called for, which we thought made for a better pasta-to-artichoke ratio, and still provided 4 full servings.

Don’t forget to save 2 cups of the cooking water before draining the rigatoni. You will need the starchy seasoned water to create a sauce that lightly coats and marries the artichokes and pasta.

Rigatoni with Artichokes, Basil and Pecorino

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. rigatoni (we only used 12 oz.)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (or use the oil from the jarred artichokes)
  • 3 cups drained oil-marinated artichoke hearts, patted dry
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 oz. pecorino romano cheese, finely grated (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 3 pieces

Directions

  1. In a large Dutch oven, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until just shy of al dente. Reserve about 2 cups of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.
  2. Wipe out the pot, add the oil and heat over medium-high until shimmering. Add the artichokes and cook, stirring, until well browned, 5 to 7 minutes. (Ours took 9 minutes.)
  3. Add the garlic and pepper flakes, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Return the pasta to the pot, along with 1½ cups of the reserved pasta water. Cook, uncovered and stirring often, until the pasta is al dente and little liquid remains, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat. Add the pecorino, lemon zest and juice, basil and butter, then stir until the butter is melted.
  5. Stir in additional pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until slightly saucy. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

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Adapted from a recipe by Diane Unger from Milk Street