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Fun With Marinated Artichokes

Maybe four months ago, maybe more, I took home from Trader Joe's a jar of their artichokes, a little mesh bag of shallots, a plastic box of cherry tomatoes and a pound of their now-discontinued (boo hiss) High-Fiber Spaghetti. I cooked and drained about half the spaghetti, in the meantime mincing a large shallot and cooking it with olive oil in a four-quart round-bottomed nonstick pot (dirt cheap from an Asian market), then quartering about half the tomatoes and throwing them in, and draining the artichokes – save the juice! – and cutting them into slightly smaller chunks, checking for and removing any papery outer leaves. When the tomatoes had all collapsed I added the artichokes and stirred it a bit, then the spaghetti and the marinade. That got all tossed together with some grated pecorino and then devoured by us and a dinner guest, and we've repeated it several times since, though with just plain spaghetti since I still can't face the brown stuff.

Then a week or so ago I happened to glimpse on a muted TV a cooking demo, wherein the host was stirring tortellini in a pan with what looked an awful lot like my artichoke-tomato. "By golly, that should work!" I thought, and by golly it did. I just had to put a 10 oz package of the fresh cheese tortellini – pesto works too – into the pan when the tomatoes' juices and the marinade were heading towards a boil, and stir it with a silicone paddle or wooden spoon until the tortellini were tender. That was even faster and easier, done in about the time it took me to hunt-and-peck this on the keyboard, and we loved that too.

I think the next step might be incorporating these ingredients into a baked mac'n'cheese …

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  1. About 30 yrs ago, I had a friend who always put jarred/canned artichoke hearts in her tuna-noodle casserole, along with muenster cheese. I liked that, and also putting cooked bacon and artichoke hearts into mac&cheese.

    5 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      My stovetop-to-oven mac'n'cheese often has tomatoes, onion and those poblano strips that come frozen and peeled; I can't do bacon for home consumption, but the artichokes would fit in as a good alternative to the chiles. I do think maybe adding a smoked cheese to the mix would be a nice move too. I usually just do a mixture of sharp cheddar and fontina.

      1. re: Will Owen

        Frozen peeled poblano strips? Sigh. Sometimes it hurts to be an east coast girl. I spend a lot of time roasting and peeling poblanos year-round here. (It's always worth it, though.) Sure would be nice to have that convenience.

        1. re: Will Owen

          WO, remind me where you get those pepper strips please.

          1. re: c oliver

            Sorry to be so slow, but I get mine at my neighborhood Food 4 Less. I'd imagine they're at Latino markets too, as it's a Mexican brand (Huerta).

            I made that mac'n'cheese for company last night and they went through it like Sherman through Georgia. The recipe is on the Home Cooking Board – search for "Low-Carb Mac & Cheese."

            1. re: Will Owen

              Thanks. I knew it was someplace I had access to.

              I'll have to check out that M&C also.

      2. One of my favorite, quick week night meals is simply grilled chicken breasts served on bed of sautéed onions, spinach and those artichoke hearts.

        They are also great on a pizza. And in creamy dips. And breaded and fried. And just by themselves.

        I have an artichoke problem.

        3 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2

          There is a market outside of castroville, ca, that sells freshly fried artichoke hearts. Its impossible to drive past it and not stop! They also sell bags of frozen fried artichokes you just have to bake- my parents have served these at every holiday party since i can remember.....

          1. re: Ttrockwood

            Always had to stop there coming back from any trip to Monterey when I lived in Palo Alto.

        2. TGI Fridays used to actually sell this when I worked there about 15 years ago. It was called "Broken Noodle Pasta" originally named because it was traditionally made with all the broken pasta scraps. It was chopped up artichokes, bell peppers, red onion and black olives sauteed in olive oil and garlic for a bit, then we would ladle marinara into the pan and simmer it some more before adding the pasta.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Atomic76

            Something I forgot to mention was that I break the spaghetti in half (more or less); when you're stirring it into a sauce (such as for Tetrazzini, for instance) it mixes in more easily if it's shorter. Thanks for reminding me! (And I've had that TGiF pasta dish, too.)

            Dear foodieX2: I share your problem. One reason I'm glad the TJ's artichokes are so good is that I'd been buying mine from the Roma Deli down the street, handmade and OH so good, but $6 or so for a little takeout container. More flavor than TJ's, and I do use those for company mostly, but there's much to be said for economy and convenience … and the frequency of non-chewable leaves is actually lower in TJ's.

            1. re: Will Owen

              I'm a well-known (locally) slave to artichokes and have raised them with success in Louisiana, where they first were introduced to the New World. I've found that Trader Joe's frozen hearts are a fine short cut. I get bags at a time and marinate them myself. Tons of fun and far better than any canned or jarred version I've ever encountered. I find that artichoke hearts in tins are equivalent to hearts of palm in tins: it will work but it is definitely NOT the same as the Real Thing.

          2. whenever I make a brunch strata I always included these..

            I also like very much hot artichoke dip... which I don't make but seems to find its way to parties everywhere:-)

            1. I use them to make artichoke pesto baguette sandwiches that are popular for parties, tailgates, picnics, and the like. I use skinny baguettes from the grocery store. Slice them nearly through, lay flat, and dig out a trough the length of the loaf on either side. Spread the troughs sparingly with pesto, fill the trough on one side with chopped marinated artichokes, and lay halved slices of provalone cheese on top of the artichokes. Lay the loaf on piece of plastic wrap that is one and a half times as long as the loaf. Pile arugula or spring greens mix on the sandwich, close it up, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate You can do this up to 4 hrs ahead with out the loaf getting soggy. At serving time, for cocktails--1 inch slices. For picnics, or football watching, etc., bigger slices. So good!

              4 Replies
                1. re: c oliver

                  Oh, my goodness, yes. Can't wait to try it! Thanks!

                  1. re: mckngbrd

                    Oh, my … our next-to-last day in France we were in Nice, staying with some of Mrs. O's relatives. Abel, the husband, took us out on his boat for a day to show us as much of the Cote d'Azure as we could stand, and at midday he hauled packages of these from the cooler. Floating between two small but extremely popular islands teeming with attractive, barely dressed people, eating those delightful sandwiches, then climbing down into the cool water to wash off the vinaigrette residue … Oh, my. Think I'm gonna need one of these.

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      I've carried them on airplanes twice now and had the flight attendants hanging over us. BTW I use the Ortiz spanish tuna packed in oo. Expensive but SO worth it. We're heading to the Bay Area tomorrow to see our new granddaughter. I plan on making these one day for lunch.

              1. I love marinated artichokes and always have a gigantic jar of the costco oil marinated ones on hand. Whenever I think a dish could use more vegetable matter, I throw those in. Most recently, homemade "hamburger helper" thing that my kids love. Chopped artichoke, onions, and mushrooms sauteed with the meat, etc.

                1. Will. did I get this right? You took RAW tortellini and cooked them right in the sauce without boiling them first? I like that. Bet it would work with ravioli too. Kind of a pilaf style of cooking pasta.

                  Also folks on this thread seem to be talking about "hearts" of artichokes, which I understand to be the lower part of the artichoke, with the bottoms of the leaves and the fuzz in the middle. Then there are artichoke "bottoms" with all the leaves and the fuzz removed - artichoke in its purest form. These are used in the Jerusalem chicken recipe, which was a yesteryear downtown San Francisco restaurant specialty.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Sharuf

                    Trying to remember - do the bottoms come marninated like the hearts do?

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I've seen them in cans in, I think, water. Not as common as the hearts.

                    2. re: Sharuf

                      Sharuf, it was the refrigerated fresh tortellini, not the dry kind. Juice from the tomatoes and the marinade is enough to cook it in usually, but I've thrown in some white wine from my glass when I thought it might need some.

                      The TJ marinated artichokes are very young hearts with a bit of stem and some tender leaves, though I do check for any that might be papery.

                    3. I batter & fry them in place of chicken, using a lemony caper sauce and they are REALLY good. You need to squeeze them well in a towel first and consider splitting bigger guys so they all cook evenly....

                      1. I buy the monster jar at Costco since they last quite awhile.

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