Pasta with Leeks and Artichokes

Here is another tomato-free pasta dish - and it's a fun one! The leek, artichokes, and lemon rind and juice complement each other perfectly and create an extraordinary, really unusual flavor. I guess, it's one of those recipes that you either love or hate - I definitively LOVE it! Give it a try, you'll be surprised: weird as it may sound, the Pasta with Leeks and Artichokes really is great!

Ingredients (to serve 2):

8 ounces short twisted pasta
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cups thinly sliced leek (about 4 large leeks; don't use the dark green parts)
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt, black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Tip: When you are sautéing the leek, do not let it brown! Keep the lid closed, but do stir from time to time and add a little water, if neccessary.

Preparation (about 25 minutes):

1. Add your choice of pasta to boiling, salted water and cook it al dente.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced leek, season slightly with salt and pepper, put the lid on, and sauté 10 to 15 minutes or until tender.

3. Cut the artichoke hearts in half (length-wise), add to the leek and cook for a few minutes over low heat.

4. With a whisk, combine in a small bowl 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon rind, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

5. Add the pasta, lemon juice mixture, and parsley to the leek mixture and toss gently to coat.

Weird, isn't it? When I first read this recipe somewhere, I tought exactly the same - still, it has become one of my favorite pasta dishes. Give it a try and ... enjoy!