As I prepared for bed last night, Alexi sent me a picture of paella cooking over a beach fire; he texted about silly talk regarding imaginary bad words. He and Cal are away for the weekend with almost all of the dads and sons in the third grade. Since kindergarten, their camping trips have marked the beginning and end of the school year. I lay thinking about them as I drifted off to sleep.
The next thing I knew, Abbott was rousing me to eat the eggs and toast he prepared. We went to the barbershop, and afterward, caught up on the neighborhood gossip walking to and from the farmer’s market. A small child told me Nelly looked like a roasted marshmallow.
The leftovers of the rustic Italian dish I had for lunch are as good as it gets. I trim the artichokes sort of like this. He's much more thorough than I am - I don't cut off as much of the top or pull out the choke at this point. I also don't really worry about them oxidizing, although it's a good idea.
Spaghetti with Artichokes
adapted from Franny's by Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark
8 small or 4 large artichokes, trimmed
3⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
8 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon chili flakes
1⁄2 cup water
1 pound spaghetti
1⁄2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
4 teaspoons finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus more if desired
Halve the trimmed artichokes lengthwise, then slice them lengthwise into 1⁄4-inch-thick slices. In a very large skillet or a Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the artichokes, garlic, and salt, and cook until the artichokes are nicely browned and a little soft and the garlic is golden around the edges, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add the water, just enough to not quite cover the artichokes, and let it simmer until the artichokes are very soft, about 2 minutes. There should still be some liquid remaining in the pan. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, in a large pot of well-salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to the package instructions until 2 minutes shy of al dente; drain.
Toss the spaghetti in the skillet or dutch oven with the artichokes, parsley, Parmigiano-Reggiano, butter, and pepper, and cook until the pasta is just al dente, 1 to 2 minutes, adding 2 tablespoons water if the sauce seems dry.
Divide the pasta among four individual serving plates or bowls and finish each with a drizzle of olive oil and a teaspoon or more of Pecorino Romano.
Yield: 4 servings