23 April 2010

Not Johnny Carino's Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta

Ok, so I was in Texas for my daughter's wedding and we were going to the groom's parent's house for the rehearsal dinner. I had never met his parents, and had no reason to expect ANYTHING remotely edible for a vegan. I was thinking 37 kinds of barbecue,and very bad Texas beer. The beer part was right, at least that night, but there were actually three things I could eat! Amazing.

They had taken one of the Caesar salads and left it undressed with dressing on the side. They had a veggie-corkscrew pasta salad that was pretty good. And then they had Johnny Carino's Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta. I had no idea who Johnny Carino is, but he makes one mean angel hair pasta. I later found out that it is a restaurant and the hosts had paid $14 a SERVING for it. Could I have possibly eaten $56 of PASTA? The one I had was altered from the restaurant version in that my daughter had asked them to leave out the capers.

The combination of garlic, olives, tomato, artichoke hearts and pasta was absolutely delicious.

Living in the US Midwest can have its challenges. I couldn't find any kalamata olives or any real black olives at all, so had to use the canned 'black olives' made in California. These are disgustingly bad substitutes for real olives and I'm sure no country in the world would allow them except the US. But, I decided I needed them for the photo, so bought a can and used them. Of course, now I found real olives and will use those in the future.

Another problem is that apparently during the winter and spring, the US gets nearly all of its tomatoes from Florida. And Florida decided to freeze one day. Tomatoes are hard to find and very expensive until the summer crops come in. So, I used sun-dried tomatoes in this recipe. I dry my own, but you want proper dried tomatoes, not the stuff soaked in oil or marinated. Just simple dried tomatoes.

If you are in a real rush, you can use a jar or two of marinated artichoke hearts instead of cooking your own and marinating them. However, the marinade for artichokes is very strong and you'd need to make sure you remove as much of it as possible from the artichokes. You can do the frozen ones in 15 minutes of total time, so use them if you can.

Other possible substitutions: if you don't have sumac, add a couple of scrapes of lime zest instead. Don't have brown rice angel hair? Use any angel hair pasta you like. No aleppo pepper? Then just use some chile flakes you would put on a pizza. No Massel's? Use another vegan boullion powder.

On the beer front, at the wedding itself, I had a very good Texas beer called ZiegenBock Amber. It was made a local microbrewery which has recently been purchased by a 'big company', so hopefully they will leave it alone.

Since both Massell's and the brown rice pasta were gluten free, the recipe as I made it was gluten free. If you are cooking gluten free by necessity, though, double check all the ingredients you use.

Angel Hair Artichoke Pasta

Servings: 4

8 ounce(s) Brown Rice Angel Hair Pasta
8 ounce(s) artichoke heart, frozen
1/2 cup(s) black olive, sliced
24 gram(s) Sun Dried Tomato - slices soaked and diced
2 garlic clove diced
1 tablespoon(s) olive oil, extra virgin
1 teaspoon(s) Massel Better Boullion Powder chicken flavor
1 1/2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
3 tablespoon(s) rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon(s) Sumac - powdered
1/2 teaspoon(s) Aleppo pepper (or chile flakes)

Cook frozen artichokes as the package directs.

Soak the dried tomato slices in fresh water until they soften. Reserve 1/2 c of the soaking water. Then chop finely.

While the artichokes are cooking, whisk together rice vinegar, olive oil, salt and sumac in a medium bowl.

Drain artichokes and mix into the dressing. Leave to marinate.

Start a pot of water for the pasta.

Heat a 3-4 qt saute pan.

Start boiling the pasta

Add extra virgin olive oil to saute pan.

Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.

Add sun dried tomato pieces and stir to coat

Remove from heat until the pasta is done.

Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 c of cooking water and 1/2c of the tomato water.

Put saute pan back on heat, add pasta water and bring to a boil.

Add Massel's powder, black olives and drained artichokes

Add pasta and stir in well. Cook about a minute until everything is warm and the pasta absorbs the liquid.

Optional: sprinkle with your favorite vegan parmesan.

Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. You whine about beer, olives and tomatoes??? What a diva/drama queen. Definitely the typical "I'm a vegan look at me" kind of guy. You've got to be a nightmare mother-in-law!