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Friday, September 30, 2022
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    Pasta with artichokes, capers and toasted breadcrumbs make for a quick, thrifty meal

    Aaron Hutcherson

    THE WASHINGTON POST – I’m a big fan of salt and savouriness, so it’s no surprise I love brined things. Brining infuses food with extra flavour and also helps to preserve it, which is why items like marinated artichoke hearts and capers deserve room on your pantry shelves. And while you’re there, grab a box of pasta and some breadcrumbs and you’re ready to cook this recipe.

    You’ll start by making some seasoned panko breadcrumbs. Sure, you could use any pre-seasoned breadcrumbs that you might have on hand, but I like to buy plain ones because they are more versatile and then I can season them as I see fit. In this recipe, we toast panko, Italian seasoning and garlic powder in some olive oil until golden. The breadcrumbs add a nice crunchy topping to the pasta, but to be honest, they’re so good I would eat them sprinkled on just about anything.

    The sauce for the pasta, if you can call it that, begins with sauteed artichokes and capers. I like nonpareil capers mostly because I think their small size makes them cute, but they also offer the best flavour and texture. Any capers you have around will work in this recipe. Since the artichoke brine is already full of flavour, some of it is added to the pan along with a spoonful of honey, for balance.

    You might notice that I didn’t add salt outside of boiling the pasta and a pinch with the breadcrumbs. That’s not a mistake. The artichokes and capers contain plenty of salt already, and I found this recipe to be perfectly seasoned, so be careful about going on autopilot and accidentally ending up with an overly salty dish.

    Pasta with artichokes, capers and toasted breadcrumbs. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

    PASTA WITH ARTICHOKES, CAPERS AND TOASTED BREADCRUMBS

    20 minutes

    Two to four servings

    This pantry pasta relies on marinated artichokes and capers to pack a briny punch. Some of the brining liquid gets used to help flavour the pasta, and a bit of honey is added to the mixture for balance. Seasoned and toasted panko breadcrumbs make for a delightfully crunchy topping.

    INGREDIENTS

    Kosher salt

    Eightj ounces spaghetti, or any other long pasta

    Four tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

    1/2 cup panko or other breadcrumbs

    One teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

    1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

    One (12 ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts

    Two tablespoons nonpareil capers, coarsely chopped

    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    One teaspoon honey

    DIRECTIONS

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve one cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, warm two tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the panko, Italian seasoning blend, garlic powder and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring, until the panko is nicely toasted, two to three minutes. Transfer to a bowl, wipe out the skillet and return it to the stove.

    Drain the artichokes, reserving quarter cup of the marinating liquid. Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the artichokes, capers and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the artichokes start to brown, about
    seven minutes.

    Add the honey and reserved artichoke marinating liquid and cook for about one minute. Add the drained pasta to the skillet and toss until coated, adding the reserved pasta water as needed, if the mixture looks too dry. Transfer the pasta to a serving platter or individual bowls, sprinkle with the panko mixture and serve.

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