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Cavatelli With Artichokes & Preserved Lemons

The host of the award-winning podcast, The Sporkful, shares a pasta recipe from his cookbook featuring roasted artichokes & preserved lemons.

By Dan Pashman

10:55 AM EDT on April 2, 2024

Cavatelli with Roasted Artichokes and Preserved Lemons.

Cavatelli with Roasted Artichokes and Preserved Lemons.

The journey to arrive at this cavatelli with artichokes recipe (developed with Katie Leaird) was months-long. If you want a real window into the recipe development process, see “Mom, Where Do Recipes Come From?” on page 110 of my new cookbook, Anything's Pastable: 81 Inventive Pasta Recipes for Saucy People.

All I will tell you here is that this is one of my five Sleeper Hits of the cookbook for a reason.

The cover of Anything's Pastable by Dan Pashman.

The cheese in this dish dissolves into the sauce, and my daughter Emily, who only believes there’s cheese in pasta if she can see it, said, “This pasta doesn’t have any cheese on it, so I was like, ‘Oh my God, I need cheese on it.’ Because, you know, cheese is the best. But I still had to taste it, and it actually tastes really, really good.” 

Related: Shop The Sporkful Collection from Sfoglini Pasta

“The pasta shape cavatelli, it goes really well with the flavor,” said my other daughter, Becky. “The lemon preserves or whatever you call it sticks to the pasta shape. So I like it because then you get some of it in every bite. I like the flavor. I think it’s more interesting than plain pasta.” 

Try it yourself and find out why this is one dish I’ll be making for years to come! 

While this dish will lose its sauciness if it sits, the flavor remains outstanding, so it does function well as a pasta salad made in advance, especially if you’re using fresh cavatelli, which is very durable. If it’s been sitting for an hour or two, just add a drizzle of olive oil and toss before serving. 

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Cavatelli with Roasted Artichokes and Preserved Lemons

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Recipe by Dan Pashman u0026amp; Katie Leaird


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 tablespoons 2  tablespoons kosher salt

  • Three 14-ounce Three cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry (see Note)

  • 7 tablespoons 7 extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 pound 1 cavatelli (see note; or use casarecce, strozzapreti, gemelli, or gnocchi)

  • 3 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 finely chopped preserved lemon (about ¾ medium lemon; see Note)

  • 2 tablespoons 2 drained capers, roughly chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 chopped fresh parsley

  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) 1/2 finely grated Pecorino Romano


  • Place an oven rack in the lower- middle position and heat the oven to 450°F.
  • On a rimmed sheet pan, use your hands to gently toss the artichokes with 3 tablespoons of the oil until evenly coated, then spread into a single layer, cut side down.
  • Transfer to the oven and roast until deeply browned on the bottom, 18 to 22 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. 
  • Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water and the salt to a boil in a large pot.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes less than the low end of the package instructions. 
  • Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) of oil in a large, high- sided skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and just starting to brown, about 1 minute; remove the pan from the heat.
  • Use a mesh spider to transfer the pasta directly to the skillet and return to medium heat.
  • Add 1½ cups of the pasta cooking water, the preserved lemon, capers, pepper, and three- quarters of the roasted artichokes (choose the lighter-colored artichokes to stir in, reserving the more browned ones for topping).
  • Cook, tossing and stirring to combine, until the sauce thickens and clings to the pasta but still pools slightly in the pan, 3 to 5 minutes. 
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley and Pecorino.
  • Transfer the pasta to a serving dish or individual bowls, top with the remaining artichokes, and serve. 


  • ARTICHOKES NOTE: Thoroughly drying the artichokes is key to getting some good color on them— use a double layer of paper towels to gently but firmly pat them dry, then discard the towels and repeat. Or roll them up in a clean kitchen towel and press them dry. 
  • PASTA NOTE: We developed this recipe with big, rustic, fresh cavatelli, found in the refrigerator or freezer section of some supermarkets and many Italian specialty stores. (Rustichella d’Abruzzo also makes a great dried one, although if you get the 8.8-ounce package, you’ll need two.) If you can’t find cavatelli that are at least 1 inch long, don’t bother with the little dried ones— just substitute one of the options suggested. 
  • PRESERVED LEMON TIP: Preserved lemons are a punchy powerhouse— their salted citrus brings not only layered lemon flavor and tang but also a special salinity that kosher salt alone cannot compete with. Look for whole packaged preserved lemons in the cheese section, or jarred ones in the international or “Global Flavors” aisle of larger grocery stores or specialty shops. I used Les Moulins Mahjoub brand from Whole Foods. You can also make your own; it’s very easy and there are instructions online. When adding to a recipe, use every part but the seeds!

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