Mirrors, in Feng Shui, have been described as ‘the aspirin for the home’ … apirin is not a life-saving medication but it most definitely helps with a very long list of ailments; and likewise mirrors, though not capable of rectifying severe problems in a Feng Shui quandary can modify the situation for the better. I was thinking along these ‘aspirin’ lines the other day and, transposing the concept to the context of cooking, I decided that my personal food ‘aspirins’ are: sausage, pancetta and/or guanciale, and salt-dried anchovies. Add them to any dish and you are guaranteed an immediate boost in terms of taste. (Salt — proper, good naturally dried seasalt and not nasty tablesalt — is not an aspirin, please note. Salt is uber-necessary and in a category of its own.)
So, today’s recipe is a pasta that would have tasted very nice even without the addition of sausage (pace vegetarians and vegans) but turned into something much more interesting and satisfying for the palate precisely on account of the sausage. It’s very straighforward:
Trim your artichokes and then cut them into strips and remove any hairy bits that might be there … Sauté the artichoke strips in plenty of olive oil and add a little bit of salt. They will need to cook for at least 10 minutes, bear in mind. Then get hold of as many sausages as you think you need … and remove the skin … At this point it is safe to put the pasta on the boil. Chop up the sausage meat … Add it to the artichokes and brown the meat. Grate some pecorino cheese — or parmesan if you prefer. When the pasta is ready (i.e. 1 or 2 minutes before the cooking time suggested on the packet), add it to the artichoke and sausage sauce. Combine and add some cooking water and use a wooden spoon to mix it all (or toss the frying pan if you are capable and strong enough). Taste and add more salt if required. A twist of pepper would be nice too. Chilli flakes too, again if you like chilli.
On the plate and ready to eat.