I loved watching Biba on The Learning Channel in the 90’s. She was my food idol then. I loved the style of her cooking: simple, fresh ingredients that she combined into a beautiful, no-fuss recipe. Now we’re talkin’. She is an artist. I love food that is a bit of artistry. Plus, it has always felt good to make beautiful Italian meals for my beautiful, Italian husband.
I decided to give this classic a try. Unlike my typical “let’s change it up” method of not really sticking to a recipe, I thought it best to stay true to the classic. The only thing I did was cut the pasta in half. And it was perfect. Also – if you can’t get fresh, baby artichokes locally, Biba says that fresh broccoli could do in a pinch.
This recipe speaks to my spirit. Know what I mean? And believe it or not, this came together in just about 30 minutes.
2 lbs fresh, baby artichokes
juice of one lemon
1/4 to 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 lb of medium sized shrimp, raw and deveined
2 tb chopped sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tb bread crumbs
chopped, fresh red chili pepper or dried, red chili pepper flakes to taste
1 lb small shells or penne (I used 1/2 pound of small, whole grain shells)
2 tb flat leaf Italian parsley
Snap the green artichoke leaves off at the base. Cut off the stem and using a small knife, core the center choke. Slice off the green tip. As you’re working, toss the artichokes in a bowl of ice water with the lemon juice to keep them from discoloring.
Cook the artichokes in a medium sized pan of water. Add about 1 tsp of salt and simmer gently for about 7-8 minutes until softened. Pat dry with paper towels. Quarter the artichokes.
Saute shrimp in a pan with olive oil over medium heat. Add the sun dried tomatoes and garlic. Then add the bread crumbs and stir a couple times until the crumbs turn golden. Add the artichokes. Season with salt and chili pepper. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, boil the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta water. Add the shells to the shrimp and artichokes, and stir to combine. Add the reserved pasta water. Add the parsley, and toss to combine.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan.