Fusilli ai Carciofi (Pasta with Artichokes)

In the Cilento Coast, artichokes are one of the main crops that are cultivated, especially in the area of Paestum. There is even a special variety that grows here that has been given the DOP designation (kind of like the DOC label given to wines, but for food products!). They are prepared in a variety of ways, but this pasta dish is typical of the area. Fusilli, cavatelli, or scialatielli are the most-used shapes of pasta in the Cilento, but you can use penne, spaghetti or whatever shape you prefer.

You'll need:

2-3 artichokes. Clean them by pulling off the tough outer leaves, trim the stem, and cut off the top prickly points. Cut them in half, then slice each half into six to eight slices.

1 clove garlic, minced
1 TBSP fresh parsley, minced
pinch oregano
1/2 cup white wine plus 1/2 cup water
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated parmigiano cheese

In a heavy bottomed saute pan or skillet, saute the garlic in olive oil until golden. Add the artichoke hearts, parsley, salt and pepper and a sprinkle of oregano. Saute a few minutes, then splash in the wine and water. Cover and let cook about 10 minutes, adding a little more water or wine to keep them moist. Stir in the cream; when it's heated, add the cheese. Stir and simmer on low until the spaghetti is cooked al dente.

Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Dust with parmigiano and a sprinkle of freshly-ground pepper.

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