Globe Artichokes

Globe Artichokes, with black olives, caramelised onions, sultanas, walnuts and spaghetti

Globe Artichokes, with black olives, caramelised onions, sultanas, walnuts and spaghetti

Update: Have made this again for sups and this time I forgot to add the lemon juice. Purely because of that I not only went without the black olives but also the flat leaf parsley as I’ve ran out of it. I’m thrilled to write that this still tasted as good. And possibly even better for those that are less keen on the more piquant flavours. Because of that I’m putting those three ingredients as optional within its list below.

Previously: It’s not that I’m hankering after a blast of summers past. Which is just as well as globe artichokes wouldn’t really do it for me, if that was the case. Yes, I happen to like them. Even though there’s quite a lot of faffing around with preparing fresh (hence the reason for using shop-bought for this recipe). No, it’s more to do with buying a pack of Spanish Clementines last week and marvelling at their juiciness at this time of year. It always strikes me as odd that citrus fruit – all of which I adore – are just coming into their season. And the connection is?! Lemons. If you’re organised lemons are perfect when stored in a cupboard with other fruit and veg. No, not in the fridge as that can dry them out. Mine are kept in a cupboard with several other types of fruit, as unlike oranges, lemons do continue to ripen. The reason for stating the obvious is I wasn’t that diligent the first time I made this little recipe last week as I used lemons just bought. Purely because of that I’ve gone with a small handful of sultanas to help sweeten the sourness. Possibly going the route of Sicilian cuisine where dried fruit is sometimes used. Not that I’ve been there. Yet! Anyway, this won’t be to everyone’s taste as it’s very definitely sweet and sour. Which is exactly how I feel right now.

Artichokes, with black olives, caramelised onions, sultanas, walnuts and spaghetti


PREP: about 15 mins ~ COOK: about 40 mins ~ READY IN: less than 1 hour

ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED: fine grater (microplane) for hard cheese, as in Parmesan or Grana Padano

  • olive oil
  • 150g (5.291 oz) x onions, tops sliced off, peeled and sliced crossways into circles
  • 1 x dried bay leaf
  • 10g (0.353 oz) or a small handful x sultanas
  • 1/2 x lemon, juiced through a fine sieve – optional
  • 60g (2.116 oz) x grilled artichoke hearts in oil and white wine vinegar (shop-bought in a jar as antipasto) + extra to personal taste
  • 20 – 40g (0.705 – 1.411 oz) x walnut pieces, dry roasted and roughly broken/chopped
  • 4 x pitted black olives, chopped – optional
  • pasta of choice
  • flat leaf parsley, finely chopped or snipped – optional
  • hard cheese of choice, Parmesan or Grana padano
  • seasoning, both freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  1. Put a heavy-based saucepan or pan on electric heat No 3 out of 6. When hot pour in enough oil to cover its base. Add the onions and the bay leaf, plonk on a lid and set the timer for 15 minutes. I can safely leave mine without stirring through. If in doubt do keep an eye on them. After 15 remove the lid, stir through and reduce heat to No 2. This is when I usually stay in the kitchen and stir through occasionally as I’m preparing other stuff. Let the onions continue to cook, without poking at them too much, for at least another 15 minutes, reducing heat to No 1 to prevent any scorching. By that stage the onions should be nicely golden, if not caramelised. I usually add the sultanas anytime after the first 15 minutes.
  2. Pour over the lemon juice, add the already chopped artichokes and up the heat to No 3 again to help heat everything through. In the meantime cook the pasta of choice.
  3. Add the walnut pieces to a small pan and put on lowest heat setting. Dry roast for about 10 or so minutes, or until they become fragrant. Take off heat and break or chop them even smaller, when cool enough to do so.
  4. Serve the pasta with the sauce, walnuts, black olives, parsley and lots of freshly grated or shaved Parmesan.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Kitschnflavours:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny Hepburn

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  1. Johnny first of all I am in love with your photograph, it’s beautiful, The recipe is wonderful, during these cold and dreary days your spaghetti dish is like a breath of spring, This will be made tomorrow. I can’t wait it just sounds so good.

    • Thanks, re photo. Funny, but I very nearly didn’t take any photos earlier today as it was that dismally grey. Unfortunately, my camera doesn’t like being pushed to 200 ISO, so there’s a lot of noise bottom-left.

      Hope you like this. I’ve made this a few times now. And every time I make it from scratch, instead of keeping leftovers. Don’t know why. Possibly as I do have quite large portions of the stuff. Would’ve thought this is fairly typically Italian. Even though I don’t know lots about Italian cuisine. I’ve just bought Parmesan earlier this evening – OMG, is it expensive! Most cuts of meat are cheaper per kilo!! Anyway, it’s nice cheese (as I’m not long after having risotto). So I may go with more photos tomorrow. Hope you’re beginning to get back to normal. So far today is the first that I’ve felt human in weeks!

  2. This is very good, Johnny! Photo and recipe both. Looks and sounds fresh. Sweet and sour happens to be my thing, and anything lemon is always a fave. What do you think about adding capers in? You think that would work?

    • I would’ve thought capers would be added to something like this. Unfortunately, I’ve ran out of them. And they happen to be one of those ingredients I tend to forget to buy in! As this is already fairly sweet and sour for me I probably wouldn’t add them. Partly as I really like capers in tomato sauces and salads. Don’t ask! I guess we all have our quirks. Having said that I like the idea of trying this at room temperature. There’s never enough left to do so! Possibly with green olives and capers on top of bruschetta?

  3. As always, Johnny, your picture is fantastic. And the dish sounds wonderful, I can imagine all those flavors together, mmm caramelized onions, chunks of artichokes and sweet raisins and little salty olives, heavenly! And with the walnuts for a little crunch. This is a perfect dish! Next time I go to the Italian deli, I will definitely get a jar of artichokes.

    • Thanks, Darya. Must include within the ingredient list that these are regarded as antipasto, or at least that’s what I’m buying over here. Hopefully they’re easy enough to buy.

      • They are easy to find! You can get them in any supermarket here, but I think I might find better quality artichokes at the Italian deli downtown.

        • Fortunately, the quality I can get close by is not only good but all natural ingredients. Unlike a lot of pickles and stuff over here that include spirit vinegar – that’s also an industrial cleaning agent!! Seriously, ever since the recession the food industry are using it. Even some mustards have it included (including French). Horrid aftertaste as well, besides anything else.

          • That is seriously gross. I use spirit vinegar for cleaning my kitchen and bathroom :)
            Ah well… One must always read the tags!

            • The irony is it’s not possible to buy spirit vinegar here to clean with. It’s more a case of wholesale to the industry type of scenario. Can you imagine drinking the stuff? And it’s in so many products over here. Which is why I check the labels. If only the type used wasn’t so damn small!!

    • You’re probably right, about the term brilliant. Hadn’t even noticed! In conversation I would use it. Oddly, in writing I never do. I guess it’s our equivalent of awesome. Thanks, re pasta.

  4. I really enjoy the store bought artichokes, especially in a pasta sauce. I am going to make this sauce. You know I will because I not only do I have a pasta obsession, but I also enjoy a good “feedthepiglet” recipe too! Honestly, the thought of all these flavors and textures together have really given me something to look forward to. It’s a slump of a week as far as cooking goes, I needed a bit of inspiration. :)

    • It’s a long time since I’ve bothered to buy in this type of product. Price wise I’m really surprised at how reasonable they are, as I wouldn’t prep and cook that many artichoke hearts for so little! They are good. And must try this as a sort of spread. When I eventually make it to the superstore I’ll be looking for a spreadable cheese, or one that would melt nicely, to go with this and some bruschetta.

      Isn’t it funny, I’ve obliterated feedthepiglet’s name! Really must try and come up with a different title over the hols. Thank you for saying that. And yes, you and me both. I’ve been feasting on lots of raw ‘n’ chunky salad recently. In fact, I’ve just realised tonight that little mustard cress (micro plants?) goes rather well with purple/red cabbage, pitta and hummus with lots of lemon juice and black pepper. So simple in flavours, easy to prepare and a really nice snack.

  5. This is absolutely my kind of dish. Wonderful. I love artichokes and the combination of ingredients – sultanas, lemon, walnuts etc. – sounds perfect to me. I keep artichokes on hand all the time and will be giving this a whirl over the holidays.

    • Wish I was as organised. I try and have things like this in. But then I scoff the lot! And forget to replace them. Oh, and I have to admit that I succumbed to the commercialisation that is completely unnecessary for Christmas! Couldn’t resist buying a 3 ft fake tree for less than half price this evening. Couple that with (tasteful, honestly) silver sequin baubles at half price and I spent less than £6! Does that make me more like Scrooge than ever before?!

  6. I like sweet and sour, especially flavors in classic Sicilian dishes. Looks quite tempting when I’m sitting here trying to get over too much Christmas things.

    • Have no idea if this is along the lines of a Sicilian recipe. The only one I do, that is authentic, is caponata. And with it regional variations do use dried fruit. Would so love to visit Sicily. In fact, when I was writing the summary I realised that the only island in the Med I’ve been to, apart from several Greek islands, is Malta! Seriously?! Would love to visit them all, darn it!!

      • Malta was fun! We went there and had a really good rabbit stewstew. BUT the stupid thing was, we went so we could visit St Elmo’s Fort, but after we got out the (horrible, sea sick inducing) ferry from Sicily we were told the Fort was closed for repairs!!
        Actually would like to visit some Greek islands too, keep reading about the ancient buildings or ruins on some islands, with no tourists!

        • Don’t know about islands without tourists! Even when I visited several Greek islands years ago there were tourists everywhere. Okay, so I stayed on Santorini. Yes, with those incredible views. That’s when it was affordable. And I did make it to the top of the mountain where the ancient Olympiads used to train – only for the grounds to close for the evening five after I got there! Dammit! As for Malta – aaah, I fell in love with Valletta! To the extent I had visions of buying a 50′s truck, doing it up like the then Bouncy Buses, and proffering private catering around the island. And other tourists dream of/have holiday romances!? And I wanted to start a catering business…Ouch :)

  7. What a great recipe, and beautiful photo! I rarely have globe artichoke, and when I do it’s in France and we peel off the leaves and dip them in butter. But I’m gonna have to get myself a jar of the hearts for this – it looks gorgeous!

    • That’s exactly how I used to eat them when I lived near Portobello Road. During summer I would buy large bags of them when they were in season. So good with just melted butter and black pepper. This way of cooking with them is so much easier! There’s usually quite a lot of faffing around with preparing fresh. It’s winter, I’ve had three colds in a row and I’m feeling lazy!! Which I happen to quite like :) Thanks!

  8. That is a lovely dish…and a gorgeous photo! I love artichokes and I know that I would just love this pasta dish with the lemon and olives. Looks soooo delish! Sorry to hear you’re feeling sweet and sour! Just this morning when I awoke, I wished it weren’t Christmas. My bad?

    • You might be surprised that I had to Google ‘my bad’ to determine its exact meaning. Did I miss something, people?! I don’t know that phrase! Where have I been?! Anyway, know how you feel. I’ve decided to leave Christmas until Monday next week, and if I can get certain produce then, fine, I have a proper Christmas lunch. If not…de luxe meatloaf, vegetarian style, it’s gonna be! And gravy. Oh, and I’ve got Brussels sprouts on their stalk. Hopefully they’ll keep :) Thanks for the lovely comment!

    • Oops! I should have realized that “my bad” isn’t proper English! It’s a way my girlfriend and I speak to each other when we do or say something that goes against the norm and we ask “my bad?’”. In other words, is it wrong of me? Am I a bad person for thinking or doing this? Am I being naughty? Sorry for the confusion Johnny. :-)

    • Thanks! Although, I’m not so sure about thoughtful. It’s just an easy dish to make when I want simplistic with loads of flavour. And when I’m feeling especially lazy!

  9. I made this tonight and it was fabulous! I would never come up with these flavors and this is why I appreciate this recipe so much! What really stood out was the aroma of the bay leaf as it was caramelizing with the onion. The nutty flavor of the walnuts along with a bit of tang in the onion was wonderful Johnny. And, it was nice to have a pasta dish flavorful enough to not have to include salt! Merry Christmas.

    • Thanks so much for your feedback. Really appreciate it. Yes, it’s the type of simple dish that doesn’t need much else except black pepper. Although, I’ve since bought a very nice Parmesan (thankfully I like it as it’s expensive) to try with that dish. I’m just not sure if it needs cheese. Especially as I very seldom grate hard cheese over pasta. Hah! Just remembered your onion and potato soup! That’s the reason why I bought the cheese. And to try it with this dish. Really fancy a bowl of soup for sups tomorrow night. Tonight! It’s past 3am and I’m staying up late as I don’t have to get up early. Okay, it’s time for my much needed beauty sleep. Thanks again. Thrilled you liked it. And Merry Christmas!

  10. What a fabulous photo Johnny – so fresh looking and everything so beautifully placed! I’m still coming around to globe artichokes… I know I’ll get there one day, but just not yet. Perhaps I could substitute with char-grilled red peppers/capsicum instead? Love all the other flavours you’ve used!
    Wishing you a wonderful Christmas! :)

    • Do have to apologise for not responding sooner. Your comment came through as I was shutting my laptop down. Besides, the bells that ring out for those desperately needing beauty sleep were tolling loudly! My first thought was swordfish, even though I haven’t had that in years. You’re in the midst of your barbie season so lightly grilled swordfish would have the perfect texture and delicate flavour. Or, how about using chicken breast meat, slicing it and marinating those in olive oil, splash of white wine vinegar/white balsamic and fresh herbs. That would have a similar texture as well. And it’s quite delicate in flavour, too. I’ve just gone through a jar of antipasto grilled red/yellow peppers as I can’t be bothered to grill them at home during winter. And regardless of how well they taste it’s not the right sub for me and this dish. Especially as this can be treated as a warm salad or eaten with your favourite lightly toasted sourdough.

      Yes, thank you re Christmas. And I hope you and yours have a fabulous Christmas time. I’m also hoping you’re more organised than I am. I’d hoped to catch up as I’m no longer nursing that nasty littl’ cold. Nah, feeling nice ‘n lazy! :)

    • No, haven’t managed to get to the stage where I’m making fresh pasta. I blame it, needlessly, on my rather small kitchen. Then why am I making pastry over the next couple of days?! I just happen to like excuses! One of these days I’ll try it :) Thanks for your lovely comment.

  11. I LOVE the styling in this post! Stunning photos Johnny. I adore globe artichokes so I can definitely see myself tucking into this pasta dish with suitable gusto. Definitely cannot wait. Thanks heaps for the inspiration!

    • Thanks, Laura. It’s a shame I’ve had to resort to taking mostly overhead shots using predominately white as the natural light here is so wintry most days. Even by 1pm my camera ain’t happy.

      Yes, I’ve just had artichoke, pan-fried broccoli and pea risotto – with lots of Parmesan. And that was a really nice combination. Really enjoying being able to reach into my cupboards and haul out ingredients that don’t need to be prepared.

      Merry Christmas!

  12. I do love artichokes but have never had the patience to know what to cook with them myself, so kudos for you here and for giving me ideas! Oh, and such gorgeous photos!

    • I’ve never used them before, excepting within salads. And I’ve just had (lots of) an artichoke, pan-fried broccoli and pea risotto and that was really nice. So easy to cook.

      Thank you re photos. And Merry Christmas!

  13. Beautiful! Loving your overhead shots lately, Johnny. Mmm, this makes me crave pasta. I have a tendency to stick to red sauces, I need to try something like this soon!

    • Thanks! I do complain about the wintry light right now. Hence the reason for shooting overhead. Although earlier today I went back to shooting up ‘n close ‘n personal again. It’s so dark here by 1pm most days I don’t have the choice but to use lots of white. Funny, with pasta I love creamy sauces. And tend to have rice with red sauces instead. And I’m lovin’ risottos this season.

      Merry Christmas!

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