Pappardelle pasta is one of those Italian names that makes me want to say it like I’m an Italian.
It’s fun to pretend that I’m an Italian, of course, gesticulating with my hands. Pappardelle is similar to wide fettuccine, and if you can find lemon pepper pappardelle, it’s perfect for this dish. The name pappardelle derives from the Italian verb “pappare”, to gobble up.
That’s exactly what we do when we have this for dinner!
During the weekday when our family schedule is full, I’m either too hungry or too tired (or both) for cooking up a proper meal, so I’ve come to find some quick toss something together solutions, not being the most organized plan-ahead sort of person. So here is my dinnertime fix-something-quick: I rummage around the fridge and find a few fresh veggies to mix up into pasta, toss it together with some condiments (such as olive tapenade and marinated artichokes), add some lemon zest, sea salt, and black pepper, et voila, dinner.
This habit evolved into this recipe, and I’m quite proud of it, actually. All of the flavors compliment each other: lemon, asparagus, artichoke, olives, basil, black pepper. I’m sure you will gobble it up too. Pair with some lemon water (or lemon iced tea, or a cool glass of Pinot Grigio) and enjoy with classical music playing in the background. Have this for dinner al fresco on your patio and perhaps you’ll feel like you are living under the Tuscan sun for a moment. Mangia!
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and washed
- 2 medium lemons, zest and juice
- 12 oz marinated artichoke hearts
- 1 ¼ cups extra virgin olive oil
- 8 oz (227 g) dried lemon pepper papardelle
- 3 oz green olives, pitted and sliced
- 7 oz olive tapenade
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for plating (optional, if vegan)
- ½ cup pine nuts (substitute toasted pumpkin seeds)
- handful of basil leaves (substitute spinach)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
- 1 sliced radish, for garnish
- Make Ahead: Artichoke Pesto
- In a high-speed blender, pour in half of the artichokes from the jar with the oily marinade liquid, and add 1 cup of olive oil, juice from 1 lemon, ½ cup Parmesan, ½ cup pine nuts (substitute toasted pumpkin seeds if nut allergy), handful of basil leaves (or baby spinach).
- Pulse and blend to medium smooth consistency.
- Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
- This can be made ahead and kept in refrigerator for up to two weeks. Keep the artichoke pesto out to room temperature before mixing into the pasta so it can incorporate well. (If vegan, just make without the Parmesan.)
- Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Add asparagus to baking sheet and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Top with a few slices of lemon and bake for about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and chop into 2 inch pieces. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
- Grate the zest of the lemons and set the zest aside. Halve 1 of the 2 lemons (save the second zested lemon for lemon juice in artichoke pesto).
- Sear the lemon halves face down on a slightly oiled pan— cast iron works well. The oily artichoke marinade from the jar is great to use as it lends the flavor of artichoke to the lemon. Sear the lemons until both cut sides are browned, about 3 minutes per lemon.
- Remove the lemon slices from pan and juice them when cool.
- Add the papardelle pasta to the pot and cook until al dente. Drain and toss lightly with artichoke pesto.
- Drizzle the seared lemon juice and a little more artichoke pesto all over the pasta and incorporate.
- Gently toss the papardelle with parmesan, olive tapenade, green olives, asparagus, lemon zest, grated black pepper, basil ribbons, and garnish with sliced radish.