Artichoke Spread, the Best Recipes for Tasty Pairings

Indulge in the kitchen with this oh so tasty condiment, with its delicate flavor and typically Mediterranean ingredients: all the characteristics of Artichoke Spread and the pairings to enjoy it at its best.

Artichoke Spread lends itself to a wide variety of recipes, adding a refined, velvety touch to so many dishes. Before we explore the range of pairings and recipes based on this healthy and versatile condiment together, here are some interesting facts that you may not know.

Few people know that Italy is now the world's largest producer of artichokes, a vegetable which has come down to us from the Middle East thanks to the Etruscans, and is widespread in the Mediterranean area thanks to its nutritional and phytotherapeutic properties. It has also been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times: the Egyptians were among the first to use its leaves to try to treat liver and kidney disorders.

It is precisely its high diuretic, digestive and antioxidant powers that still make it a valuable natural remedy to help lower blood cholesterol levels, promote bile secretion and prevent oxidative damage.

How do you make artichoke spread?

Artichoke Spread, Sundried Tomato Spread and Olive Spread

The artichokes commonly consumed on our tables is only the bud or flower head of the plant, the heart of which is by far the most tender part: this is precisely why we use it to prepare our Artichoke Hearts in Oil and our Artichoke Spread.

To make this spread at home, after a first step soaking the artichokes in water made acidic with vinegar or lemon to prevent them from turning dark, you need to blanch the artichoke hearts for a few minutes and sauté them in a pan drizzled with oil and a hint of garlic. Use the blender to obtain a smooth, creamy puree to which you will need to gradually add a drizzle of our Extra Virgin Olive Oil to help you achieve the desired consistency. For a stronger taste, add capers, parsley and a few mint leaves to the blender. Generally speaking, a cream diluted with a little cooking water is best for dressing pasta, while to enjoy it on crostini or boiled eggs as an alternative to mayonnaise, it's best to leave it thicker.

Whichever pairing you choose, the secret to a velvety smooth cream is to clean the artichokes very well, stripping them of the leathery outer parts. Also remove the inner choke, tops, and stem (except the part near the base).

Types of artichokes: which are the most common?

There are different types of artichokes on the market, which differ for the presence of thorns (thorny or without), shape of the head (round or elongated), color (green, white, or purple), and seasonality (fall or spring). The most famous varieties grown in Italy are:

  • Sicilian violet artichoke: those from Niscemi, in the province of Caltanissetta, are famous. It is an elongated variety with a cup-shaped flower head and typical purple bracts.
  • Romanesco artichoke: this type is thornless and has a sweet flavor. It is better known as "mammola" in Italy, and has large, round flower heads.
  • Sardinian thorny artichoke: easily recognized by the presence of yellow thorns in the bracts. It has an elongated conical flower head and is moderately compact.

Artichoke Spread: how to use it and what to pair it with for a tasty dish?

You don't have to be a master chef to make artichoke spread recipes. All it takes is a little inventiveness and you're done, not least because the delicate flavor of this condiment lends itself to accompanying a wide variety of dishes.

Let’s take a look at some truly delicious dishes made with Artichoke Spread and see what to pair it with and how to use it:

  • Pasta with Artichoke Spread
  • Lasagne with Artichoke Spread
  • Risotto with Artichoke Spread

Pasta with Artichoke Spread

This is a recipe that will save you those evenings when you want to put something tasty and flavorful on the table, but are short on time. Choose your favorite type of pasta, from paccheri to linguine to fusilli, and boil it in salted water. Set a few ladles of the cooking water aside to thin the Artichoke Spread. After draining the pasta, mix it with the resulting puree and add some confit cherry tomatoes and two leaves of fresh basil. If you’d also like to try a more sophisticated variation, you can check out the recipe for Pasta with Artichoke Spread and Shrimp.

Lasagne with Artichoke Spread

Lasagne with Artichoke Spread

The classic recipe for Lasagne with Artichoke Spread can be revisited in an even tastier way: try adding sausage previously browned in a pan and diced provola cheese between the sheets of pasta. Perfect to make in advance, freeze or put directly in the oven for Sunday lunch.

Risotto with Artichoke Spread

Another first course full of flavor is Risotto with Artichoke Spread. If you want to experiment with a gourmet version of this dish, you can go with your imagination in terms of decorations: for example, slices of crispy prosciutto and Jerusalem artichoke chips will be a topping your guests won't forget.

Remember that a beautifully wrapped jar of Artichoke Spread is also perfect as a birthday gift, to be found under the Christmas tree or taken as a gift to friends' homes, as well as being a great aperitif saver: it can be used to make quick vegetarian canapés for spreading, perhaps even from our tasty pairings with Olive Spread.