Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Giant artichokes with handmade linguine and steamed clams
Artichokes and steamed clams, especially littlenecks, are two of my favorite late spring/early summer foods. I find giant artichokes to be meatier than the regular sized variety.
The first thing I did was de-choke and trim the choke. All that means is getting rid of all of the things that will prick your fingers or the inside of your mouth when you're trying to eat the thing, like the spines at the tips of the leaves and the little needley things on the inside.
I braised the halves with some basil, salt, lemon, and a couple of dried porcini mushrooms so that the liquid would be all delicious and usable in the rest of the elements of the dish. When the artichokes were halfway done, I stole some of the braising liquid for the pasta dough instead of just using straight-up water. I usually like to do a combination of semolina and all-purpose (unbleached or whole wheat) flour for the dough.
The pasta dough gets rolled out nice and thin and then rolled up, sliced, unrolled, and laid out to dry. You need to be careful to flour the surface of the rolled out dough well enough so that unrolling it isn't too difficult. When the strands get a little dry they get tossed into salted, oiled up, boiling water.
Last step! Scrub the shit out of those clams so no sand in the teeth. I got some white wine, olive oil, a little reserved braising liquid, and a couple of crunched down garlic cloves going in a lidded pan and tossed the clams in. Let those suckers steam until they pop open, making sure to agitate here and there to help them along the way. Then I plated up with a little clam broth poured over the pasta and clams and served the artichoke with some home-made aioli for dipping.