I've never been a fan of pasta salad, a ubiquitous side dish at picnics and potlucks. Why serve pasta at room temperature with a bunch of random vegetables and dressing? That's what lettuce is for. I like pasta to be hot, substantial, and the main event. Not a dainty side dish.
So it was rather surprising that while eating this dish, courtesy of Nigel Slater, I not only loved how it tasted but could not stop thinking about how much it reminded me of a fancified pasta salad. It's not served cold, but it could be: Wide noodles are layered together with preserved artichokes, shards of Parmesan, and briney green olives; the zest and juice of a lemon and a drizzle of olive oil bind it all together. It's substantial enough to be a light dinner but would also be marvelous next to a piece of grilled fish or chicken—or anywhere the bright flavor of citrus is welcome.
Artichoke, Olive, and Lemon Pasta
- 1/2 pound cappaletti or other wide, flat pasta
- 8 ounces jarred halved artichokes
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of half a lemon
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup roughly torn parsley
- 1/4 cup green olives, pitted and halved
- Parmesan to taste
Bring a large pot of salty water to boil. Cook the pasta until just al dente.
In the meantime, slice the artichokes into fat pieces and put them into a shallow serving bowl. Add the lemon zest and juice, then season with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add the olive oil, parsley leaves, and olives, and fold the ingredients together carefully.
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the serving bowl. Toss with the ingredients and some grated Parmesan. Top with more shaved Parmesan and serve.