7 Days of the Food Network: Day 2, Robert Irvine

March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

J:  Robert Irvine is someone I saw for the first time when he appeared as a challenger on an episode of Iron Chef America.  Although he didn’t win, he was utterly charming (what can I say, I have a weakness for British accents), and when I found this recipe for pineapple and artichoke pasta online I knew that I had to try it.

I am so glad I did.  It was amazing.  This is one of the most fun and delicious pasta dishes I have ever had — I never would have thought to combine pineapples and artichokes, but the saltiness of the latter complements the sweetness of the former in a completely delightful way.  Also, this was the first time I had ever worked with fresh pineapple, and although it was a little intimidating at first, I was pretty triumphant when I’d finally managed to reduce it to chunks.  So: give it a shot!  Nothing about it is really terribly difficult, and the end product is absolutely fantastic.

it's so good that it doesn't even need cheese

Robert Irvine’s Pineapple and Artichoke Pasta
(recipe found here – I halved it and made some slight changes, noted below)
1 lb pasta (I used penne, you can use your own favorite!)
Olive oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic (I used 3)
1 1/2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into smallish chunks (I went ahead and used the whole pineapple, and I think that was a good decision — there definitely wasn’t too much of it)
1 16oz can artichoke hearts, cut into chunks (if you can’t find a 16oz can, err on the side of bigger rather than smaller)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I used vermouth, and I think it worked really beautifully)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sprigs of cilantro or parsley, for garnishing (optional)

Before you do anything else, you are probably going to want to tackle your pineapple.

*not* as scary as it looks

I used this video to get an idea of exactly how to go about the butchery, so if you’re as bewildered as I was, it’s a big help.

Once you’ve got that under control, get your pasta cooking in a large pot of salted water, and do the rest of your prep work.

Heat up a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan, and add the onion, garlic, cilantro, and parsley.  Cook until the onion is somewhat translucent.

onion has just been added to the pan

Add the pineapple, and sauté until it begins to soften.  Mine didn’t get squishy or anything like that, but you want the pieces to give just a little bit.  You’ll only need to cook them for 3-5 minutes.

deliciousness increases exponentially with each new ingredient

Stir in the artichoke pieces, add the vinegar (or vermouth if you prefer, which I highly recommend), and season with some salt and pepper.  Remove the pan from heat.

i would eat this straight with absolutely no shame

When your pasta is finished cooking, drain and return to the pot.  Add the delicious sautéed “mix-ins” to the pasta, and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over it all.  Toss well to coat and to get all the ingredients evenly distributed.  I find that the pasta serves as a really wonderful backdrop to all the other ingredients.  If you didn’t have it, the flavors might be a little intense, but they’re tempered by the pasta and they sort of seep into it so that it really soaks up everything and makes this a perfectly balanced dish.

Garnish with some fresh cilantro or parsley, and serve!

so delicious, you won't even know what to do with yourself

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