Purple Artichokes & Orzo

Purple Baby Artichokes
Purple Artichokes and Orzo

When I got my hands on these purple baby artichokes, it already felt like Spring in Seattle. We’ve dipped into dreary temps again, but seeing them while writing this brings a smile back to my face! I found them at Sosio’s in Pike Place Market. I’ll be honest — I had attempted cooking regular artichokes before, but was poked and frustrated so much that I never bought them again. As you can see, these were so fascinating I HAD to try them!

The guru at Sosio’s told me these baby chokes would be really tender with a nutty flavor. He demonstrated how they did not need trimming like regular artichokes do. You remove only the outer-most, tough leaves. If you find only larger or long-stem chokes though, then you may proceed as outlined here.

Purple Artichokes and Orzo

I used:
1/4 pound Supreme Orzo from Pappardelle’s (it has amazing Saffron, Fire-Roasted Red Pepper and Porcini Mushroom flavors)
some small, purple baby artichokes

some garlic cloves (unpeeled!)

some broccoli heads

2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

half a pinch of saffron (if you feel adventurous, mix some in oil & toss the mixture in the pasta!)

My method:
1. Preheat the over to 350F (175 C).
2 Clean the artichokes. Take only the tough, outside leaves off — there shouldn’t be many if the baby artichokes are fresh! Slice them in half. If you find these tender baby artichokes as seen in my photos, there is absolutely no need to trim off anything else.
3. I tossed all my veggies — broccoli heads, artichokes, and garlic in oil, salt, and pepper, then placed them on a baking sheet, to bake for about 10 minutes. Make sure nothing burns.
4. Boil the pasta while the vegetables roast.
5. The artichokes might cook first, then broccoli, and then garlic. Be careful not to over-roast artichokes as they will get tough. Depending on your equipment and other ingredients, you might want to start roasting the artichokes last!
6. Once the pasta is finished, season it and toss it in oil (or, saffron-infused oil if you prefer).
7. When the vegetables are finished, combine them with pasta and plate to your liking. The pieces I had cut made for simple, elegant plating on top the orzo, as above.
8. Note, the photo above only shows a few veggies, but in fact we ate 4 times as many with our pasta 🙂 I was only practicing my plating skills.
9. It is a lot of fun to squeeze the roasted garlic out of its peels. Don’t forget to eat all the good stuff out of the artichoke leaves, mmm!
10. We really enjoyed this wonderful Purple Artichokes and Orzo meal with a crisp white wine, while looking forward to warmer days ahead 🙂 We toasted to Summer!

Pairing Suggestion:
My husband, Brian is a beverage enthusiast and remembers we had a summery, local pinot gris. He said: “the nuttiness of our artichokes, the saffron and herbs in our pasta, and the garlic call for a dry, assertive white.” I remember he idled around our wine stash for a while over what to pair with artichokes!