Artichoke Pesto

A delicious Artichoke Pesto is the perfect buttery and nutty summer pasta sauce for your favorite pasta dish or on top of a crusty piece of bruchetta. Although artichokes are grown twelve months out of the year I can't think of a more light refreshing pesto sauce for summer.

Artichokes, or carciofi in Italian, are grown all over the South of Italy and are typical to Southern Italian cuisine. When artichokes bloom they burst into a dazzling purple that fill the fields. I love them and when I lived in Italy I could easily spend my lunch time picking away at these beautiful thistles. Artichokes originated from Africa and Arabia. Migrating their way into Naples, Italy making this 3000 year old vegetable a foodie delight used in so many Italian pasta recipes.

The leafy and edible flowers that are relative to the sunflower are grown all throughout the Mediterranean. Although California is now one the largest producer of artichokes today.

Artichoke Pesto Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup artichoke hearts, oil set aside separately
  2. 1 large garlic cloves
  3. ½ cup fresh basil (optional)
  4. ¾ cup of Olive Oil from artichokes plus additional Olive Oil if needed. Use as little or as much as you like to make is the creamy consistency you like
  5. Salt and pepper to taste

Artichoke Bi-section First decide what type of artichoke you are going to use for your pesto recipe. If you're using fresh artichokes you need to clean and prepare them for the sauce. This young lady does a fine job of showing you step by step instructions on how to clean and remove the heart of an artichoke on youtube.

How to remove the heart of an artichoke!

You must use only the heart of the artichoke to get the perfect consistency and flavor. Once that's done you steam or boil the hearts for 15 minutes or until tender to the fork.

I bought artichoke hearts from the store and that is perfectly fine as long as you buy artichoke hearts that are NOT marinated. You can find them packed in pure olive oil or oil in most specialty gourmet shops, Italian deli's or even in Whole foods if you have one near you. That's were I purchased mine.

The rest of the ingredients are pretty simple.

Artichoke Pesto Preparation:

Artichoke pesto in food processor

Be sure you remove the artichoke hearts from the oil if you purchase them. Set aside the oil because you can use it to add additional flavor when you blend oil into your pesto recipe.

Place the artichokes into the food processor along with the salt, pepper, garlic and basil if you decided to use it.

I like to pulse the mixture at first and then leave the processor on for a few seconds. Then I remove the top of the food processor, scrap the sides and blend it again.

Repeat this until the artichoke pesto is thick and has a blended creaminess.

Scrap out the pesto into a bowl and drizzle with the artichoke olive oil and/or your favorite olive oil and mix with a fork until blended well.

I like to toss my artichoke pesto in with a rotini or radiattore pasta shape because they give so much surface and nooks and crannies for the pesto to tuck into.

Try another unique pesto recipe like this Southern Italian Pesto. Capers and raisins make a sweet and salty, tasty combo!

Vivere, Amare, Ridere e Mangiare Bene
Live, Love, Laugh and Eat Well!
Kira Volpi

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