Bright, fresh, and bursting with flavor, Artichoke Pasta is one of my favorite dinners to make when I’m craving Italian. I always keep a couple bags of artichoke hearts in the freezer just for this recipe, I love it that much.
Easy, breezy pasta recipes calling your name? Try Pasta Primavera, bursting with spring veggies, or Creamy Chicken Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Or, maybe even a fresh tomato Caprese Pasta, which is so easy and wonderfully delicious.
Making Artichoke Pasta for one big, giant Sunday Supper? Abondanza! Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Where can I buy frozen Artichoke hearts?
Believe it or not, they’re way more common than they used to be. They’re sold at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods (as part of their 365 brand), and Kroger. You can even find them at big box stores like Walmart. Today, the freezer section is a lot better than when I was a little kid, with a lot more to offer.
One of the important things about using frozen artichokes is that they must be thawed and drained well. Sometimes it helps to give the artichoke hearts a gentle squeeze with a paper towel.
Can I use canned artichoke hearts in this recipe?
Technically, yes– but I don’t always recommend it. While canned artichokes taste fine in other recipes, in this fresh pasta dish they don’t taste as good as the frozen variety does.
How to make Artichoke Pasta:
- First, select your favorite type of pasta: fettuccine, spaghetti, linguine, bucatini. I usually use a long thin pasta that can coil around all the vegetables and olive oil. But you can use whatever you like, or whatever you have on hand.
- Then, boil a big pot of salted water. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package until al dente, usually about 9 to 11 minutes. Pull out about a cup of the cooking water to use later, then drain the pasta well and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat until combined. Add the onion, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, some salt and ground black pepper. Cook until the onions have softened.
- The stir in the artichoke hearts and cook until they’re heated through. Pour in the lemon juice and remove from the heat.
- Grab a big serving bowl and dump in the hot, drained pasta. To that, add the artichoke mixture, half of the cooking liquid, and the Parmesan cheese. Toss until creamy looking and fully combined, adding more liquid if needed.
- Finally, adjust the seasonings and sprinkle on extra cheese, if desired.
Why save pasta cooking water, anyways?
Holding back some of the murky water that pasta cooks in is really important for thickening and improving the texture of pasta sauces. It’s full of starch from the pasta, as well as some salt.
Adding small amounts at a time back to the pasta and sauce gives your dish a silky, smooth restaurant-quality finish. It also puts a couple notches in your culinary belt.
Incredible Artichoke Pasta Variations:
There are so many fun ways to play around with this recipe. Think of it as a jumping off point for your next masterpiece.
- Bacon: cook some chopped bacon, pancetta, or guanciale in the butter/olive oil mixture until crispy, then proceed with the recipe as written.
- Goat cheese: instead of Parmesan cheese, make artichoke pasta with a creamy goat cheese that melts into the dish. Tastes fabulous with the lemon!
- Chicken: leftover rotisserie chicken adds protein to the recipe and tastes great, too. Add cooked chicken when you add the artichokes.
- Sun-dried tomatoes: sweet, sun dried tomato ribbons add color and flavor to this sunny Mediterranean recipe.
- Olives, capers, other briny things: a handful of chopped, mixed olives or a tablespoon of capers with their brine up the ante in this dish. Just make sure you keep the salt to a dull roar.
- Spinach: a handful of baby spinach tossed into the skillet to wilt with the artichokes never hurt anyone; in fact, I’ve heard it makes people stronger. Go for it!
Artichoke Pasta Recipe
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound fettuccine 1 cup cooking liquid reserved
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 onion large, chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 18 ounces frozen artichoke hearts thawed, drained
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 10 tablespoons parmesan cheese freshly grated, plus more for garnish
- In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to boil. Add fettuccine and cook until al dente, about 9 to 11 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid and then drain well.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat butter and oil until melted and combined. Add onion, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes.
- Stir in artichokes and sauté until heated through, about 3 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat.
- To a large serving bowl, add drained pasta, artichoke mixture, 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid, and cheese. Toss until combined, adding more liquid if needed to bring the sauce together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.