Pasta With Artichokes and Pancetta

Pasta With Artichokes and Pancetta

Sautéed artichokes with leeks and pancetta make a hearty, earthy sauce for pasta, brightened by a squeeze of lemon and some herbal dry vermouth. Take care to remove all the tough outer petals of the artichokes; you only want the thinnest, most tender petals to end up in the pan. Bacon avoiders can skip the pancetta. Just use extra olive oil and Parmesan at the end to make up for the missing richness.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 3 persons



  1. Step 1

    Squeeze one lemon half into a large bowl of cold water. Pluck off all tough leaves from one artichoke, until you reach leaves that are pale and soft. Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel stem and trim base of artichoke, then dunk it in lemon water to keep it from browning. Cut off the top 1/3 of artichoke and discard. Cut artichoke in half; remove any inner purple leaves and scoop out the fuzzy choke if there is one. Thinly slice artichoke lengthwise to include some of the heart. Put slices in the lemon water and leave them there as you cut remaining artichokes.
  2. Step 2

    Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil, then cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain.
  3. Step 3

    Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in pancetta and cook until browned and crispy, stirring occasionally, 8 to 12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate; leave fat in pan.
  4. Step 4

    Drain the artichokes, shaking them well to remove excess water. Raise heat under pan to medium-high, and stir in artichokes, leeks, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cook until golden brown and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and stir in vermouth, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of skillet.
  5. Step 5

    Stir in cooked pasta, pancetta, chives and parsley. If the mixture seems dry, add pasta water, a little at a time. Stir in more salt to taste, Parmesan and lemon juice to taste.
  6. Step 6

    Transfer to serving plates and top with a drizzle of oil, more black pepper, and more grated cheese.