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What’s cooking today: Farfalle with Artichoke, Spinac...



What’s cooking today: Farfalle with Artichoke, Spinach and Ricotta

Tony Jackman’s farfalle pasta with pickled artichokes, spinach and ricotta, served on a Mervyn Gers Ceramics plate. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Friends brought us a jar of their divine homemade pickled artichokes. That had to be the starting point for a pasta recipe…

The artichokes, brought as a gift by our Makhanda friends Alette Schoon and Graeme Germond, who’d come for our local literary festival, had been expertly prepared; trimmed to perfection, the tender slices of hearts and the softer ends of the bracts luxuriating in a subtle olive oil brine. Glorious to eat, straight out of the jar. But I needed to celebrate them in a pasta dish.

Farfalle (pasta in the shape of little bowties, or perhaps butterflies, which is what the Italian word means), are perfect for a pasta dish containing slivers or chunks of things which can be speared with a fork along with a bowtie or two, while mopping up some sauce. Other small pasta would work too, such as penne, penne rigate, or rigatoni.

Artichoke can take other flavours without its own charms being masked, so I decided to use white wine in the sauce as well as garlic, the sweetness of shallots, thyme and a dash of lemon.

For a cheesy element I went subtle with ricotta, which also lent the resulting dish a luscious texture. Spinach added colour and texture too, while vegetable stock provided depth of flavour and cream cheese, rather than cream, finished it off. We loved the result.


3 shallots, sliced

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely

3 Tbsp olive oil

A glass of dry white wine

2 cups vegetable stock

Thyme leaves

200 g pickled artichokes, in slim quarters or sixths

200 g ricotta

2 cups shredded spinach

A squeeze or two of lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

A little garlic powder

125 g cream cheese

250 g farfalle, boiled until al dente and drained

Salt and black pepper to taste


Sauté the shallots in a little olive oil with the garlic. Add the white wine and reduce by half.

Add the vegetable stock and thyme leaves and reduce by half again.

Cook the farfalle until al dente in rapidly boiling water and drain, but first spoon off a ladleful of the pasta water and reserve it.

Add the artichokes and crumbled ricotta to the sauce in the pasta pan, and stir.

Wilt the shredded spinach with a little olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and the lemon zest, black pepper and a grinding or two of garlic powder and salt, while stirring. 

Stir in the cream cheese and pasta water, and toss the wilted spinach through.

Finally, toss the drained farfalle through the sauce, and serve. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Champion 2021. His book, foodSTUFF, is available in the DM Shop. Buy it here

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots. For more information, click here.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.


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