Spring Noodles with Artichokes, Pecorino and Charred Lemons
2 small Meyer lemons
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. natural cane sugar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
2 endives, trimmed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz.) can, 1 (12 oz.) frozen package, or 3 large, fresh steamed artichoke hearts, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. creme fraiche
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp. cayenne
1 tsp. dried Italian herbs
12 oz. (¾ lb.) fusilli or shell pasta
1 egg, at room temperature
1¼ cups coarsely grated pecorino cheese
2 to 3 cups arugula
Fresh parsley, for garnish
Fresh dill, for garnish
• Slice the lemons crosswise into ¼-inch rings and remove the seeds with a small knife. Toss the slices with the olive oil and sugar. Grill or broil the slices, flipping halfway through, until char marks appear on the lemons and they begin to soften. Set aside.
• Bring a stockpot of salted water to a boil.
• In a large saute pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp. of the butter. Slice the endive lengthwise, discarding the tough core, and then into ½-inch half moons. Add the garlic and endives to the warm butter and saute for 1 minute, just until softened. Add the artichoke hearts and a few pinches salt and sauté until warmed. Stir in the remaining butter, white balsamic, crème fraiche, nutmeg, cayenne and dried herbs. Chop the lemons into small pieces and add them to the pan as well. Keep the heat on low and cover.
• Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain and reserve ½ cup of the pasta water. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with ½ cup of the cheese and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Into the vegetable mixture, add the noodles and egg mixture and toss until everything is coated and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the arugula and a few more pinches salt and pepper to taste. Toss to mix, adding pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce.
• Serve each bowl warm with a generous sprinkle of cheese and the fresh herbs.