Spring is here even though weather tends to deny it.
With Roots (Chronicle Books, September 2012), Diane Morgan served us a large helping of the "history and lore of 29 major roots, their nutritional content, how to buy and store them".
Some root vegetables like parsnips get sweeter during cold winter months.
My second pick from 'Roots' features a favorite of mine, artichokes.
JERUSALEM ARTICHOKE AND ARTICHOKE HEART LINGUINE
Despite their names and their common family, the Jerusalem artichoke and the globe artichoke aren’t at all alike—one is a tuber, the other a thistle. Yet, flavorwise, they relate perfectly in this pasta dish. Add some slivers of red onion, lots of garlic, a kick of red pepper flakes, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a shower of thinly sliced fresh mint and you have a boldly seasoned pasta dish worthy of serving to company yet easy enough for a family meal.
SERVES 4 TO 6
1 tbsp kosher or fine sea salt, plus 1 tsp
1 lb/455 g dried linguine
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb/455 g Jerusalem artichokes, cut on the diagonal into slices ¼ in/6 mm thick
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
⅛ tsp red pepper flakes
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
One 14-oz/400-g can quartered artichoke hearts in water, drained and patted dry
6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
¼ cup/15 g thinly sliced fresh mint
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese for garnish
1 Fill a large pot two-thirds full of water, add the 1 tbsp salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and stir. Cook the pasta until al dente (cooked through but still slightly chewy), 7 to 8 minutes.
2 While the pasta water is heating and pasta is cooking, in a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat and swirl to coat the pan bottom. Add the Jerusalem artichokes, the remaining 1 tsp salt, the pepper, and red pepper flakes and sauté until the Jerusalem artichokes begin to brown on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes more. Add the artichoke hearts and garlic and continue sautéing until the artichoke hearts are heated through and the garlic is soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and toss to coat.
3 When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander, reserving 1 cup/240 ml of the cooking water. Add the pasta and the mint to the sauté pan and toss to combine with the Jerusalem artichoke mixture. Add just enough of the reserved pasta water, a little at a time, as needed to moisten. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide the pasta among warmed individual bowls and shower with the cheese. Serve immediately.
(* Recipe from 'Roots, The Definitive Compendium with More Than 225 Recipes' by Diane Morgan -Chronicle Books, September 2012- reprinted with permission of the publisher)