Roman style artichokes, artichokes a la giudia, stuffed artichokes, artichokes and potatoesthese are just some of the recipes that can be prepared with this versatile and much-loved ingredient. Our proposal is an appetising first course that will win everyone over: the pasta with artichokes and bacon or crispy guanciale! PBefore revealing the recipe, we will enter the world of artichokes to discover the different varieties that exist and which of the many types to use to make this dish.

Pasta with artichokes: choosing and cleaning the raw material

Which artichokes to choose?

The ideal time to find artichokes is from October to June and some varieties may bloom several times during the year. This vegetable is mainly grown in the Mediterranean basin. The Italian regions where it is mostly cultivated are Liguria, Tuscany, Latium, Apulia, Sardinia and Sicily. There are numerous species of artichokes and there are more than 100 in Italy. Some of the most widespread and common ones are:

  • Romanesco artichokealso called cimarolo o mammolaIt has been known since Etruscan times. It is distinguished by its large size, its thornlessness and its tender texture. È was the first Italian product to obtain the PGI mark. Typically springtime, it is excellent cooked in the Roman-style artichokes (in a pan with garlic, oil and mint) or in the artichokes a la giudia (fried).
  • Paestum artichokeIt belongs to the Roman variety and is distinguished by its rounded shape and lack of thorns. It too has been awarded the PGI mark. Present on the market from February until May, it is excellent both raw and cooked in a pan and stuffed.
  • Brindisi artichokeIt was awarded the PGI mark in 2011. It is distinguished by its elongated shape, being very tender and savoury. Perfect for preparing the recipe artichokes and potatoes in the frying pan.
  • Castellamare violet artichoke: is a springtime delicacy of Roman quality. Cultivated on the slopes of Vesuvius, it has been known since Roman times and is a Slow Food presidium. It can be enjoyed from February until May and, in the area where it grows, it is cooked on the grill and eaten with cold cuts and cheese.
  • white artichoke of Pertosais a variety cultivated in a small village in the province of Salerno. Its inner leaves are particularly tender with a sweet and delicate taste. Perfect for preparing raw artichokes in salads enriched with a good extra virgin olive oil.
  • spiny artichoke of MemphisThis is a typical Sicilian thorny variety and is distinguished by its long thorns that require very long cleaning. It is excellent cooked on the grill and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, fine salt and black pepper.
  • St. Erasmus violet artichokeCultivated in the Venice lagoon, it is distinguished by its elongated shape, dark purple colour and thorns. Its leaves are tender, which is why it is ideal to batter it and fry it.
  • violet artichoke of Tuscany: is distinguished by its elongated shape and very leathery purple leaves. Ideal for preparing preserves in oil or the fried artichokes.

Po make this delicious pasta with artichokes, Roman artichokes are recommended.

How to clean artichokes?

Cleaning artichokes is very simple: the first step is to Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a bowl with water: this will prevent the artichokes from turning black once cut.

Pasta with artichokes and bacon

Then peel off the tougher outer leaves until you reach the lighter, more tender heart.

Pasta with artichokes and bacon

Then proceed to remove the tips with a clean cut.

Pasta with artichokes and bacon

Shorten the stem to 3-4 cm from the base of the artichoke and peel it with a small knife to remove the leathery outer layer.

Pasta with artichokes and bacon

Divide the artichoke in half lengthwise, remove the inner barb.

Pasta with artichokes and bacon

Proceed to cut them into thin slices.

Pasta with artichokes and bacon

Proceed to cut them into thin slices.

Pasta with artichokes and bacon

Pasta with artichokes: what about the other ingredients?

Any pasta format can be chosen for this recipe: tagliatelle, paccheri, rigatoni and mezze maniche. As far as the quantity of guanciale or artichokes is concerned, here too the choice is free. For two people, we recommend using two artichokes and two slices of guanciale: with these quantities, the final dish will be well seasoned and balanced. The freshness of the artichoke will marry perfectly with the guanciale, which will bring flavour and depth to the dish. As for the pecorino cheese? The advice is to abound to make the dish even tastier and more flavourful.

Pasta with artichokes and crispy bacon or guanciale: the recipe


30 minutes

10 minutes




Ingredients for 2 persons

  • 200 g rigatoni pasta
  • 2 Roman artichokes
  • 2 thickly cut slices of bacon
  • pecorino Romano cheese q.b.
  • extra virgin olive oil q.b.
  • black pepper to taste
  • fine salt to taste


    • 1 medium-sized bowl
    • 1 cutting board
    • 1 carving knife
    • 1 paring knife
    • 1 ladle
    • 1 pot
    • 1 non-stick frying pan

    Pasta with artichokes: procedure

    Step 1. Cut the bacon or guanciale into thick strips.

    Pasta with artichokes and bacon

    Step 2. Place the guanciale in a frying pan without adding anything else.

    Pasta with artichokes and bacon

    Step 3. SStir-fry the bacon over medium heat until crispy.

    Crispy bacon

    Step 4. Once ready, move it to a small bowl and set aside.

    Pasta with artichokes and bacon

    Step 5. In the same pan used to cook the guanciale (where some of the fat from cooking will be present) add two turns of extra virgin olive oil and a clove of garlic. Add the previously cut artichokes, a pinch of salt, half a cup of water and cook for 10 minutes over a low flame.

    Pasta with Artichokes Recipe

    Step 6. In the meantime, cook the pasta in boiling salted water a couple of minutes less than stated on the packet. Once ready, drain the pasta and add it to the artichokes, adding a few tablespoons of cooking water and stirring for a couple of minutes.

    Pasta with artichokes
    Pasta with Artichokes Recipe

    Step 7. Now add the guanciale, a sprinkling of grated pecorino cheese and mix the ingredients together.

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    Chiara Bassi

    Which wine goes with pasta with artichokes and bacon or guanciale?

    To generalise, when it comes to food and wine pairing, is always very complex, not least because the world of wine is so wide-ranging in itself that it is difficult to find unambiguous answers even within the same denomination, not to mention the variations between one winery and another and between one vintage and another. Nevertheless, one can identify some main threads to follow.

    In the case of the pasta with artichokes we have as our protagonist an ingredient dreaded by sommelier education: it is said, in fact, that these are unobjectionable... a real nightmare! Artichokes beg for a wine without harshness and therefore it is best to avoid both bubbles - except for old disgorging - and red wines. As far as the other ingredients are concerned, we have the aromaticity, savouriness and sweetness of the guanciale which combines with the aromaticity and savouriness of the pecorino for an overall structured and persistent dish. Therefore, since pasta with artichokes is an overall aromatic and savoury dish, one can choose a fragrant white wine with residual sugar such as a Gewürztraminer Alsace AOC or a Riesling .

    [Taken from the book "Sommelier: the illustrated manual"pp. 426-427]

    Chiara Bassi

    Writer, sommelier & gastronome

    Pasta with artichokes: a good reason to try it

    Especially if you are studying for thesommelier examination it can be particularly interesting to try your hand at this recipe. It is a dish with few ingredients and well-marked organoleptic characteristics, so making the food-wine pairing card is relatively simple. Artichokes, however, make the food and wine challenge interesting and help in gaining confidence while studying to avoid being failed AIS examination (or any other association). For the aspiring sommeliers and for everyone else, in any case, the pasta with artichokes and bacon or crispy guanciale is really good!

    Pasta with artichokes and bacon