3 cups water
8 small spring artichokes, (about 3/4 pound)
6 quarts salted water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup spring onions, chopped
4 scallions , including 3/4 of the green part, trimmed
1 teaspoon peperoncino, (crushed red pepper)
1 cup young zucchini , diced (1/2-inch)
2 cups young fava beans, shelled, blanched and peeled
1 cup young peas, blanched
2 cups chicken stock, hot
1 pound orecchiette
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup Pecorino Romano, freshly grated
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
In a large, deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and scallions and saute’ until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain the artichokes well and add to skillet. Season the artichokes lightly with salt and stir in the peperoncino. Sauté the artichokes, stirring continuously, until they are softened and begin to brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Add zucchini, fava beans, and peas to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and continue stirring until the zucchini is softened, about 5 minutes. Add a small amount (about 1/4 cup) of the hot stock. Cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is almost evaporated. Continue adding stock and stirring, until all the stock is added and the vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes. There should be enough of the liquid to make a sauce that lightly coats the vegetables. Add salt to taste.
Meanwhile, stir the orecchiette into the boiling water. Cover the pot and reheat to boiling, stirring once or twice. When the water returns to a boil uncover the pot. Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 12 minutes.
Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta well and return it to the pot over low heat. Add the artichoke sauce and the butter, tossing until the butter is melted. If necessary, add enough of the reserved pasta water to make enough of a creamy sauce to coat the pasta. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Toss well and transfer to a warmed serving platter or individual bowls. Serve immediately.
Note: If spring onions are unavailable, omit them and double the amount of scallions called for and….I sometimes add Swiss Chard instead of Peas.