Le Cirque's Penne With Artichokes and Cauliflower

Recipe by Chef Kate




  • To prepare the Artichokes:
  • Cut of stems using a sharp knife to produce a neat, flat base.
  • As artichokes are cut, rub exposed surfaces with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
  • With your sharp paring knife, trim off the bottom two layers of leaves, being careful not to cut away the white part (bottom) underneath.
  • Trim any remaining green from around the base.
  • Lay the artichoke on its side and cut through, leaving about 1 and 1/2" from base to the trimmed top.
  • Turn the artichoke upside down and halve it.
  • Cut each half into four or five wedges and then remove and discard the fuzzy choke from the center of each wedge.
  • Your artichokes are now ready to be cooked, but if you are not going to cook them immediately, place them in a bowl and cover them with acidulated water (lemon juice and water).
  • To make the Recipe:
  • Place the trimmed artichokes into a small saucepan and cover with water and the juice from half a lemon.
  • Bring to a boil, blanch for five minutes, drain and set aside.
  • Place the pancetta in a saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, drain and set aside.
  • Place the cauliflower florets into a large saucepan, cover with salted water, bring to a boil, cook five minutes (or less if florets are small--check--they should be crisp tender), drain and set aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the pancetta, and cook over medium heat for two minutes.
  • Add the artichokes and saute briefly.
  • Season with oregano and rosemary and cook five minutes.
  • Add the garlic and tomatoes to the pan and cook two minutes.
  • Add the olives, cauliflower and parsely and salt and pepper and cook five minutes.
  • Meanwhile cook the penne in boiling salted water until al dente and drain, reserving 1 and 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.
  • Toss the pasta in the pan with the sauce, then add the cooking liquid and cook for two minutes.
  • Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning, add the butter and the cheese and stir gently till melted and serve.