Artichoke bottoms with pasta and shrimp

This dish (concocted at the spur of the moment) reminded me of a conversation I had with a foodie friend in Beirut; we were discussing artichokes and that exquisite Lebanese dish of stuffed artichoke bottoms with minced lamb and yogurt; I mentioned I used frozen bottoms imported from Egypt. His reaction was: “What? You are supposed to get fresh artichokes and  (slave over) peel them and clean them up and then get their bottoms” is what he said.

Yeah, right! I will do that when I have a kitchen helper 24/7. (Kitchen help is widely available in Lebanon)

You can save yourselves a lot of time and grief and buy them frozen at the Middle-Eastern store; they are produced in Egypt and are just fine!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bag of artichoke bottoms (about 10 bottoms)
  • 2 cups of low-fat yogurt
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • A handful of fresh or frozen fava beans (optional)
  • 1/4 pound of large shrimps
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 4 ounces of cappellini pasta (or angel hair)
  • Spices: Salt, to taste, sumac (1 teaspoon), paprika (1 teaspoon), coriander (1/2 teaspoon)

METHOD:

  1. Prep the shrimps (peeling and deveining) and sprinkle with the spices; add a little olive oil and let the shrimp marinate, covered, in the fridge.
  2. Boil 8 cups of water in a pot and drop the fava beans (either shelled or in their husks) and boil for 5 minutes until soft. Drain and shell them, removing the outer skin which is thick and hard to digest (for a lot of people). Set aside.
  3. Mash the garlic with a dash of salt, chop the cilantro; heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet and add the garlic and cilantro, stirring constantly, for no more than five seconds. Set aside.
  4. Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the artichoke bottoms for 7 minutes or so; drain and set aside. Heat a skillet and fry the shrimps on both sides for 3 minutes or until they turn bright pink. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the yogurt sauce: Place the yogurt in a bowl, add the cilantro and garlic pesto, the fava beans and combine well. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the cappellini 2 minutes. Drain and place in the bowl over the yogurt; combine pasta and yogurt sauce.
  6. To assemble: Place the artichoke bottoms on a platter; add a few strands of pasta on each bottom and a couple of shrimps. Place the leftover pasta in the middle, garnish with a few cilantro leaves and serve.

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39 Comments

  1. Posted April 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    We love artichokes. They are all over the market here right now. But guess what? We can’t cook it. Kitchen is still half way done :(
    This pasta looks just incredible, great arrangement.
    Cheers,
    H

  2. Posted April 26, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely love you for sharing things like this. :-)

  3. Posted April 26, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    It’s a pretty dish, indeed and artichokes are “full on” now that it’s Spring. A nice first course for a dinner party or when the boss is over.

  4. Posted April 26, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    How light and perfect – I actually have some fresh baby artichokes – but I am all in favor of frozen – they work so well in a pasta dish. I love the little nests – it is spring, isn’t it? (somewhere)

  5. Posted April 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Artichoke is my favorite vegetable to eat, there is something about it that is quite addictive. Yours is very pretty, perfect and elegant for party.

  6. Posted April 26, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful dish, love everything about it. I will look for the frozen bottoms!

  7. Posted April 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    beautiful dish and man that fish sandwich looks amazing

  8. Posted April 26, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    What a wonderful idea! If I wasn’t allergic to shellfish I would try this. Maybe I can think of something else to use in place of the shellfish though. I hope so! :)

  9. Posted April 26, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    I can buy artichoke bottoms at the store? I wonder where the closest Middle-Eastern market is in my area. My husband, just this weekend, accompanied me to the grocery store so he picked up a couple of artichokes–they’re one of his favorites. It prompted him to ask me why I rarely buy them myself and I did say that it’s because I think they’re a lot of work (I don’t have kitchen help either :-) ). I know he and I would both enjoy this this–must search for the artichoke bottoms! :-)

  10. Posted April 26, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    I have no doubt that stuffed bottoms of artichokes are delicious. I use artichokes often and have not made the leap to using on the bottoms to stuff. Your photo really brings it alive. I will be looking in the Middle Eastern store for these artichoke bottoms. Thanks for the wonderful idea.

    Velva

  11. Posted April 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    I love this, it makes it so special. I have used artichoke bottoms from a jar, but I’ll have to look for the frozen ones. Or I’ll look forward to slaving over the fresh ones…hehehe! These are great!

  12. Posted April 26, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    This dish looks wonderful, I am such a fan of artichokes but don’ to eat them as often as I like. The pasta and shrimp combo is perfect.

  13. Posted April 27, 2011 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    how funny, I would use frozen quickly instead of the extra work, lovely pics. great recipe!
    sweetlife

  14. Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    Another gorgeous composition!

  15. Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    A splendid dish! So refined…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  16. Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    I am nuts about artichokes and I love sea food so this will be a hit for me. Diane

  17. Posted April 27, 2011 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    Dish looks simply marvellous..

  18. Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Ta recette est excellente…et il est vrai que les fonds d’artichauts venant d’Alexandrie font très bien l’affaire…car c’est fou comme on n’a plus le temps d’éplucher des artichauts feuille par feuille jusqu’à arriver au coeur!!! Merci Joumana pour cette belle idée!!

  19. Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Joumana… they had frozen favas for a while at WF and then they didn’t… the best time-saver ever… because they are a royal pain. Artichoke bottoms? I’ve never tried them frozen… this looks like a remarkable dish to throw together… inspired!

    PS write me, I can send you a bit of A. if you want to try it.

  20. Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I didn’t know that artichoke can be used as a bottom for stuffing, that’s a good alternative to button mushrooms. Thanks for introducing this dish.

  21. Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I never thought of stuffing an artichoke heart. Delicious, as I love artichokes. I could eat them every day. I also love the idea of the other recipe you mentioned, with the lamb and yogurt. You must post!

  22. Joumana
    Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    @Nuts about food: the recipe has already been posted.
    http://www.tasteofbeirut.com/2010/10/artichokes-bottoms-with-a-yogurt-sauce/

    @Arthur: Try any Middle-Eastern store in your area: I am sure you will find them in the frozen section!

  23. Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    This is by far the best way to serve artichoke that I’ve seen! It’s gorgeous and full bloom in flavour for the pasta :)

  24. Posted April 27, 2011 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Lovely spring recipe!

  25. Posted April 27, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    You are right Joumana. It takes me hours enslaving myself preparing the artichokes and then cook them the simplest way possible because I would just be too tired to do anything fancy anymore. I really wish they sell them frozen here too. We just love to eat them at home ’cause they closely resemble the taste of a type of breadfruit we had as children. Super idea stuffing them! I’ll try your recipe no matter what! Cheers!

  26. Posted April 27, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Dear Joumana – you think I’ll be able to get the artichoke bottoms at a middle eatern store? I LOVE how you always come up with the most delightful concoctions using these. this one right here is genius :)

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  27. Posted April 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    They are gorgeous! I would use frozen bottoms as well…will have to look for them :)

  28. Posted April 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    Artichaut/crevettes : une combinaison qui me plait beaucoup.
    Je note.
    Dommage que tu habites aussi loin.
    A très bientôt;

  29. Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    This is such an elegant dish great for a starter or a lunch.

    P.S. I, too, would take the shortcut of frozen bottoms if I could find them!

  30. Posted April 28, 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    How could I not put a comment on these delightful artichoke bottoms? Shrimp + artichoke + pasta sounds like a perfect combination!

  31. Posted April 28, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Nice to know someone else has their priorities straight about not handling artichokes if one doesn’t absolutely have to. I completely agree…the frozen ones are perfectly fine, quick to prepare and no complaints on my side so far ;o)

    One idea I’ll sneak from you is putting the yogurt and angel hair pasta in the heart’s nest…good thinking Joumana ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,
    Claudia

  32. Posted April 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Well I am always for making things from scratch, but I’m with you on this one. I think frozen artichokes are good and easy. Joumana, did you get a new camera? Your photos have been looking especially lovely lately.

  33. Posted May 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Superbement gourmand, j’adore…

  34. Posted May 17, 2011 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    I prefer artichoke hearts – or bottoms – to the whole artichoke any day! So much easier to eat, and delicious too.
    And stuffed artichokes sound delicious – both the tradition and your seafood take.

  35. Posted May 17, 2011 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Hi Joumana – I adore this idea, stuffing artichoke bottoms with pasta. Brilliant! Such a lovely photo too. Great combination of flavors, a winner all around. Especially since the artichokes are frozen – saves time and still quite tasty.
    LL

  36. Posted May 17, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    This looks crazy delicious! I love the ingredients, presentation and colors!!

    New to your blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  37. Posted May 18, 2011 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I’ve always wanted to order artichokes when I’m out eating but I don’t know how they taste like so I still haven’t tried them yet! Then I thought about cooking them at home but I didn’t know how and now that I saw your recipe, I really, really, really want to try because I love shrimp and pasta so how could this possibly go wrong, right? I am currently in Hong Kong and I haven’t seen any frozen artichokes yet… :( Perhaps I’ll save your recipe for later, whenever I go back to the USA.

  38. Posted January 31, 2012 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Très jolis ces petits nids ” marins ” et idéals pour un apéro ou une soirée tapas…j’aime

  39. Posted May 9, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    This looks incredible! Wish I had a platter full of these in front of me right now – who cares if it’s breakfast time?? ;)

    I absolutely love your blog. Growing up we had neighbors/close friends that were from Lebanon. Your recipes take me back to the days of having dinner at Talar’s house on the weekends and snacking on hummus after school :)

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