Not in Mexico…

by Leila



What’re you gonna do… Sitting at home, cancelled vacation (due to severe weather) sun streaming through your office window and dreaming of where you were going to be this day, at this time before snow buried your town? Catch up on blogging for the reason this blog was created, life, love and deliciousness. This blog was actually a Christmas gift from my husband and son and it’s darn well time I begin using it for why they created it, rather than my heavy over thinking, sometimes senseless thoughts.

Note, I know, I could really use a food stylist and photographer here… Second note: I actually forgot about my need to blog this and didn’t begin said lousy photography until it was almost complete, oops.

I spotted the pack of artichokes at my local Trader Joes and threw them in my cart, simply because I love them. I usually never know what I am going to cook until an hour or so before time to actually prepare dinner. Having those artichokes on hand and my love for pasta at all times, I came up with this.


An easy Pasta that is very delicious:

4 Artichokes, steamed, cleaned and edible parts chopped
1 Large Leek, trimmed, cleaned and sliced thin
1 Package Trader Joe's Chopped Pancetta
Heavy Cream
1/2 lb Pasta
Olive Oil
White Wine
Italian Herbs
Salt and Pepper
Red Pepper
Parmesan Reggiano Cheese

For Garnish:
I used chopped Roma Tomato
Pine Nuts would work well too!

Get a large pot of water on to boil for your pasta.

Heat a couple tablespoons of Olive Oil in large skillet add Leeks and sauté for a few minutes till tender, stir frequently and don’t cook too high, they can burn easily, you don’t want them browned you want them tender. 

Add diced Pancetta and cook, again stirring frequently until fat is rendered and Pancetta is beginning to caramelize.

Add about 1/2 – 3/4 cup of the White Wine and deglaze the pan, cook wine down well. Then add about a Tablespoon of Italian Season. While deglazing pan continuously scrape bottom and sides and get all that yummy flavor into your pan. 


Since I live in a winter wonderland, my fresh herbs look like this right now.




I used this instead.




Repeat the adding of the wine at least two or three more times, cooking down very well each time and scraping all that flavor that is building up on the side of your pan back into the sauce. Once you’ve done this well and the pre sauce has had a good amount of time to develop flavor you are almost done.

Go ahead and dump your Pasta into the boiling water you have waiting. You could even add the whole pound if you need it, there’s just two of us so I cook less.


I was planning on using Pappardelle for this dish but my trek into the pantry found none. I did find some Bucatini that I don’t recall purchasing or ever even cooking before. I decided to try it since my gift is not whipping up fresh pasta like they do on Top Chef. I worked really well, I thought the density of it worked great with this sauce.



For cooking Pasta I always follow the instructions on the package, I find they are usually spot on. I test it often toward the end and am very careful not to over cook because pasta should always be finished in the sauce for a minute or two at least. 

While the pasta is cooking it’s time to complete this tasty sauce. Slowly add the cream, beginning with 1/4 cup or so, stirring and adding more every few moments. I probably used at least a cup by the time I was done. Look for the consistency you want once it is heated through.

Add cooked and chopped chokes to the sauce and season with salt and pepper to your taste preference. I add Crushed Red Pepper too because of who I am married to, he loves the heat. I use about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon. Keep on very low simmer while you finish pasta.

A big challenge here is to stop licking the spoon, it’s so tasty!



Drain your al dente cooked pasta and add to simmering sauce, stir to coat well and remember you are finishing the pasta here, cook and stir together at least a couple of minutes to distribute the heat. And viola, your dinner is complete!

Plop it in a Pasta Bowl and add some diced Tomato on top.



Grate a generous amount of Parmesan Reggiano over it.





Slice your favorite Crusty Bread




Have spice loving husband open up a well chilled bottle of yummy white wine.




Fill your glasses.




And enjoy!




Recommended dinner conversation:

If we were to have the insane blessing to visit Italy, what three foods would be a must for you to try?