"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!


Pasta with Artichokes, Peas, and Mint Pesto from Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City #Weekly Menu Plan

Pasta with Artichokes, Peas & Mint Pesto- simplelivingeating.com

This post is sponsored by St. Martin's Press. All opinions are my own. 

Planning on taking a trip to Italy? You have to go to Rome. It is the core of Italian history. Or are you like me lately, an armchair traveler, who explores cities and cultures more through recipes then by actually getting on a plane? 

I enjoy both traveling and reading about foreign cultures and cuisines. Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City by Elizabeth Minchilli is a memoir of an American transplant in Rome, a native's guide to dining, and an Italian cookbook!

Pasta with Artichokes, Peas & Mint Pesto- simplelivingeating.com

I was completely engrossed by Elizabeth's adventures in Italy that began when she was a kid. It is fascinating to see how exposure to Rome at a young age shaped her professional interests as well as her personal ones. 

Pasta with Artichokes, Peas & Mint Pesto- simplelivingeating.com

This book contains simple authentic Italian recipes, along with restaurants and cafes to visit in Rome, in order to truly get a sense of the rhythm of a Roman's day and how food is integrally woven into the structure of society.

Pasta with Artichokes, Peas & Mint Pesto- simplelivingeating.com

Laugh and learn about pet care, eating in public, and Italian's obsession with exact measurements. You won't be able to put this book down except maybe to make dinner! 

Here is a sample Springtime recipe from the book your family will enjoy. In the Italian spirit of cooking I took liberties to customize the recipe to suit my time contrasts. I used canned artichokes and frozen peas. It was delicious! 

Pasta Artichokes Peas and Mint Pesto

by Excerpted from Eating Rome: Living The Good Life in the Eternal City by Elizabeth Minchilli. Copyright © 2015 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Griffin.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Keywords: entree vegetarian pasta artichoke Italian spring

Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 6 large artichokes
  • Zest and 1 tablespoon juice from 1 large untreated lemon
  • 3 tablespoons and ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
  • ½ cup water, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups fresh shelled peas
  • 1 big bunch fresh mint (about 1½ cups mint leaves)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup grated mild pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound (500 grams) strascinati pasta, or pasta of your choice
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1) Trim the artichokes by removing the outer tough leaves and the sharp tips. Cut away any bright green bits until you get to the soft heart. Slice thinly and put in a bowl of water to which you’ve added about a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice.

2) In a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and cook until the onion has softened but not browned, about 8 minutes.

3) Drain the artichoke slices and add to the pan, stir, and add about ½ cup of water. Simmer until softened, but not browned, adding a bit more water if needed.

4) When the artichokes are almost done, add the peas, and cook until tender. Taste and adjust with more salt if needed, but remember the pesto will also add flavor.

5) Put the mint, garlic, almonds, lemon zest, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt
in a small food processor and puree until smooth. (You may have to add a bit of olive oil to make it blend.) Then add all of the ⅓ cup of olive oil until the mixture is well chopped and combined.

6) Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and add the grated cheese.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, check the artichoke mixture and reheat if it has gotten cold.

7) Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl and toss with the artichoke mixture.

8) If the pesto seems very thick, add a ladle full of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin it out a bit, and then add to the pasta, tossing to mix it well. At this point, you can also add a bit more of the reserved cooking water to loosen things up and make it a bit creamier if desired.

Serve topped with freshly ground black pepper.

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Weekly Menu Plan:

Sunday: Tuna Escabeche over Pasta

Meatless Monday: Breaded Eggplant with tomato Salad and Rustic Bread

Tuesday: Trader Joe's Curry Simmer Sauce over Chicken with Brown Basmati Rice

Wednesday: Fromage Blanc Quiche with Tomato Red Onion Salad

Friday: Creamy Pasta with Crispy Salami and a Green Salad

Saturday: Seafood Pot-au-Fleu with Rustic Bread


  1. Looks like an interesting dish especially with the mint pesto.. pinning it to try it later.Might try it with a spiralized zucchini ( zoodles) in place of the pasta.

    1. In the summer this recipe would be terrific with fresh zucchini. Thanks for the idea.

  2. Your mint pasta dish sounds and looks delicious.

  3. This sounds like a wonderful dish, Diane! :) Thank you so much for sharing it at Freedom Fridays!

  4. I love the sound of Elizabeth Minchilli's book, Diane! Thank you for recommending it and for sharing this delicious recipe. It sounds so fresh and summery. Pinning and will tweet!

    1. I hope you can get to Rome with a copy of her book.

  5. What a delicious Spring pasta dish! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

  6. Hi Diane,
    Your menu looks wonderful and I can't wait to try this pasta dish. Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen


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