The summer potluck season is here! One of the challenges of preparing a dish to share with a group is food sensitivities or preferences. Some of your gathering may be vegetarian, or gluten-free, or dairy-free, or all three. Pasta is pretty easy to do gluten-free, there are many gluten-free brands available that are pretty good (we’ve been using Bionaturae lately). But if you’re going dairy-free, what about the Parm? To me pasta without Parmesan, or some other nutty cheese, is just missing something. So, following a tip from Sunset Magazine, I used chopped toasted almonds instead. You still get that nutty richness from the almonds, and lots of flavor.
One of the things I have found using gluten-free pasta is that it doesn’t do as well cold, as wheat pasta. I made the dish both ways, using gluten-free and regular pasta. Both were great warm and freshly made. The regular pasta version was also good cold and reheated. The gluten-free version got a little stiff when chilled, and never fully recovered when reheated.
I love this pasta dish as a basis for experimentation. The original idea came from a farfalle roasted pepper recipe in Sunset. I could also see tossing in fresh sliced basil or strips of grilled chicken.
Pasta with Artichoke Hearts, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Toasted Almonds Recipe
- 1 pound fusilli pasta (use gluten-free pasta for gluten-free version)
- 1 14-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained, hearts cut into eighths, about 1 1/2 cups
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, removed from oil (reserve oil), chopped
- 1 cup chopped toasted almonds
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, loosely packed, more or less to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Bring a large pot of well salted water to a vigorous boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and let cook, uncovered, at a full boil, for the amount of time specified on the pasta package, minus about 2 minutes. Test, the pasta should be cooked through, but still firm to the bite, al dente. While the pasta is cooking, prep the other ingredients.
2 Place the cut marinated artichoke hearts, the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, the toasted almonds, and lemon zest in a large bowl.
3 When the pasta is done, drain it, and add the pasta into the bowl with the artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss gently to mix. Sprinkle lemon juice, parsley, and black pepper over the pasta, toss to mix. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of the sun-dried tomato oil to the pasta, and 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to mix. Taste and adjust seasonings.
At this point you can make ahead and reheat to serve.
Yield: Serves 6 to 8.