With the temperature dropping outside the call for sustaining foods is at its height, and when the hours of daylight are at a minimum and the time in the day seems so short, week night suppers need to be simple, full of flavour and sustaining. If I’ve been out and busy all day I often turn to my store cupboard to find the ingredients for that last meal of the day. This dish is borne from one of those forays, pasta being a wonderful medium for flavour - it needing only a good smothering of something rich to turn it into a satisfying dish. This recipe hit all the right notes for me: creamy, piquant and zesty, it had just the right balance of bright flavour and comforting, soul food elements. It also has the benefit of being made up of readily available ingredients: a jar of artichokes in olive oil, a handful of capers and the body of good quality gluten free pasta so easy to purchase now in most supermarkets. You could serve it as it is or stir in some green leafy vegetables – spinach, lightly steamed broccoli and peas all being a positive addition. Simple, speedy and yummy, it will brighten up these wintry evenings.
ARTICHOKE AND LEMON SAUCE FOR SPAGHETTI AND PASTA
400g gluten free pasta or spaghetti
For the sauce
1 x 280g jar of artichoke hearts in olive oil
½ tbsp capers, rinsed
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ small red chilli, finely chopped and seeds discarded
50 - 75ml olive oil – use the oil from the artichoke hearts
A small bunch of parsley
Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the olive oil to use in the puree. Place the artichoke hearts, capers, lemon juice and chopped chilli into a blender or food processor and blitz until a coarse puree, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides. Pour in the olive oil bit by bit, blitzing as you go, allowing the puree to amalgamate and become smooth. Season to taste and set aside.
Meanwhile, put your spaghetti or pasta onto cook. Once al dente, drain and stir in the artichoke puree. Add a dash more olive oil to loosen the sauce up if you think it needs it and then scatter over the chopped parsley and serve.