Jerusalem Artichokes & Orecchiette

12 . 09 . 11

Mostly just a quote today. There is a ping-pong match going on upstairs. Lots of thoughts. Ideas. Beginnings and endings always get me riled up. Maybe it’s all the coffee. I would recommend holding off on calling me anytime in the next ten days. I’ll probably bulldoze the conversation with things like how corporations should not be considered ‘persons’ with constitutional rights equal to real people, failed institutions in Guatemala, the movie 50/50, or how I almost ran out of gas again. I can’t always keep the crazy in check. And maybe that’s okay. I love this quote in all its affirmation. Get crazy. Get reckless.

“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.” J. Didion (again, I know, what can I say, she’s amazing)

Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke) Orecchiette 
Pairings suggested by Nigel Slater, Tender

  • 12 oz dried or fresh orecchiette (or other pasta of choice)
  • 1-2 lbs firm ‘chokes
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 1 head flat leaf parsley
  • pat of butter or ghee
  • olive oil
  • salt/pepper

Jerusalem Artichokes, Sunchokes to some, are stubborn buggers to clean. If Nigel Slater hadn’t warned me otherwise, I would have been tempted to just be done with the caked on mud and peel the darn things. I’m glad I was patient — Cooking the ‘chokes with their skins helps preserve their crispness and earthiness. Just make sure you spend a good ten minutes scrubbing the tubers or else dinner is likely to be on the gritty side. I washed them, sliced them thin, then rinsed them again to dislodge the soil from the deep notches.

Once you’ve sliced them thin, throw them in a steaming basket for about 5-10 minutes just to loosen up the fiber. While you wait, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, bring a bit of olive oil and butter to a sizzle. Transfer steamed ‘chokes and sauté for about 10 minutes to absorb the fat and slightly brown. Kill the heat. By now the pasta water should be boiling. Cook per packaging instructions until just past al dente. Remove. Strain. Rinse. Let dry. Then toss with the ‘chokes.

I LOVE parsley, so I used a whole head of leaves, chopped roughly. But a heaping cup or so would do. Toss into the pot of ‘chokes and pasta. Add juice of 2 or three lemons, a good shake of salt and pepper, and a few lugs of olive oil. Toss together to coat. For the omnivore, Slater suggets adding chopped bacon or seared bay scallops. Find another great recipe using ‘chokes here.

  • It doesn’t get much simpler (or more delicious) than this.

    There’s a lot going on upstairs for me, too. Life things. Things that excite me at times and make me sad at others. The circle of indecision continues, but it’s nice to know that there’s someone else out there who “can’t always keep the crazy in check.”

  • Funny, I’m posting a recipe with orecchiette today, too. I have never tried Jerusalem artichokes but I’m 99% certain I’d love them. I’m a big fan of parsley, too. Anyway, I love your message here and hope you can unwind soon!

  • Ines Anchondo

    Thank you for this recipe and the quote. I love to read Joan Didion too. Is this quote from Blue Nights? I am reading it, what a beautiful book.

  • Chloe

    One summer, my next door neighbor gave us some Jerusalem artichokes that she grew. I was quite puzzled as to what to do with them. Thank you and happy Friday.

  • I wonder if Joan Didion cooks. I bet she does. Let’s all try to grow up to be her. Deal? Yeah, let’s do that.

  • lovely quote. I have a crazy that is difficult to harness as well, so I hear you :)

  • Ahhh I can spot the politics student in you. ;) I’m on my way towards tackling essays with similar stuff. (yeah, I just said stuff. Obviously my writing is deteriorating with each essay I complete…) Great looking recipe, Kelsey. I keep seeing sunchokes pop up everywhere, I really need to try them out.

  • I’m loving the light coming through that window! The pasta dish looks so fresh and vibrant.

  • Wow–your photos are beyond gorgeous. This recipe sounds wonderful!

  • I love your pictures, they are beautiful and the mood is so peaceful and smooth… Recipe sounds great too, love jerusalem artichokes !
    Thank you =)

  • Indeed a lovely quote. I do hope things calm down a bit, though!

    I have never had Jerusalem artichokes, but I bet they’re lovely. Thanks for the thorough instruction for cleaning and preparing them!

  • This looks amazing….and I love the quote :)

  • Um, I love you. Let’s be best friends.

  • I love the shape od the orecchiette, it looks beautiful and the combination of flavors seems delicious

  • Love the quote. And really love the fact that you didn’t peel these little guys. I just picked some up at the store yesterday and can’t wait to use them! Lovely, lovely photos. What kind of camera and lens do you use?

  • I’ve only just started reading your blog, but have just spent the best part of an hour going through the recipes. This post is gorgeous – so simple but such gorgeous flavours. The little slivers of Jerusalem artichoke alongside the slippery orechiette and zingy parsley makes me want to tuck in right now…

  • I have yet to try cooking – or even eating for that matter – a jerusalem artichoke… so much food to try, so little time! This recipe and the photos look delicious. I will refer back to you for my first sunchoke experience!

  • This looks like a delicious reminder of summer.
    Jerusalem artichokes are so good, always looking for a new way to use them.

  • I like you. You always get my mind stirring!

  • I’m glad to see that you decided to leave the skins on, and that it added a great flavor and textural element to the cooked ‘choke. It’s a total pain to actually peel the little nodules anyway, so why not just deal with the skin and just clean it for a better overall product! I’m inspired. (I’m glad to know I’m not alone in having mental battles, fighting for patience to win in prep intensive recipes/food products!) Thanks for the recipe it sounds like a must try!

  • I was just ranting today about corporations being considered as ‘persons’. Sigh. The world can be a frustrating place, but at the same time it is a beautiful place. You’re adding to the beauty, and for that I’m grateful. This recipe is lovely.

  • These photographs are so beautiful. I’ve never bought Jerusalem artichokes so now I have the fun of looking carefully in the store so I can discover something new!

  • That quote was just what I needed to start the day :) Yum looks like a dish my husband would love!

  • So this is the yummy sunchoke pasta! nom. thanks for the shout out ;)

  • I wish I could find Jerusalem artichokes. This looks like perfect comfort food. And I love the visual brightness of the parsley. I’ve almost bought Tender so many times but have been trying to be good, but then posts like this come along.

  • I went to Italy this fall and orecchiette was one of the pastas we made! Your photography is gorgeous! I am adding you to my blogroll =)

  • I’ve never cooked with sunchokes. What do they taste like?

  • This reminds me of my trip to Italy last fall! Love your photos.

  • YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I’ve never found Jerusalem artichokes used in a practical, everyday type of recipe. I always see it in relishes and appetizers. This looks amazing and I’m going to try it as soon as I get my hands on some sunchokes.

  • Olga

    Thank you for telling me that chokes don’t need to be peeled!!! What a discover!!! And thank you for the recipe…

  • I have prepared, just fresh and peeled sunchoke in salads. When you eat fresh Jerusalem artichoke, they taste like hazelnuts. Until now I didn’t know how to make different dish with sunchoke, so this recipe is welcome.

  • I clicked on a pretty picture of food and of course it led me here. And then of course you read Joan Didion and can’t always keep the crazy in check. Thank you for being just such an inspiration.
    Some days I don’t know if anyone will ever understand how I feel. Some days I read the exact thing I’m thinking.

Trackbacks

  1. Weekday Vegetarian: Jerusalem Artichoke Orecchiette | Greediocracy
  2. Weekday Vegetarian: Jerusalem Artichoke Orecchiette | StainedGreen.com - Sustainability Management Blog and Green Education Resources
  3. Recipes for the Week of January 2 « coffee : calendar : cooking
  4. In The Veggie-Light: Sunchokes | Nosh
  5. 15 Delicious Orecchiette Pugliesi Recipes

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