Artichoke, Serrano Ham & Parmesan Cheese Pasta

At least you’ll never be a vegetable – even artichokes have hearts.

Amélie Poulain in the film Amélie

Even though I have long ago adored eating artichokes, it has been only recently that I’ve began an artichoke cooking obsession. The reason being will be revealed in my next artichoke post. Watch this space.

For now, I wanted to write about a true artichoke tale.

When I lived in England, I was living in a shared house with some friends. There were three and a half Spanish people there including myself. The half is me. There was also the odd Italian, but her character wasn’t required in this story.

We had some friendly neighbours next door who were from New Zealand. Our New Zealand neighbours one day went for a trip to France, where they discovered artichokes. I guess it was love at first bite. Such was the love that they decided they would go back to New Zealand to begin an artichoke plantation there. They began to go to France and Spain to artichoke festivals and conferences. One day they came back from Spain with a video about planting artichokes. In Spanish. Could we please translate it into English?

My friends and I answered that yes indeed. The three and a half Spanish people that we were sat in their living room with pens and paper. They left to go shopping. We put on the video. The farmer in the video was from the region of Galicia. We couldn’t understand his strong accent. The video (as we could guess by the images) was about irrigation methods for artichoke plantations. It was so agriculturally technical that we didn’t understand a word.

Two and a half hours later our neighbours came back. We had not written a word. We just didn’t understand anything. Yeah, it was pretty embarrassing. Total failure.

This artichoke with Serrano ham and Parmesan cheese recipe is really quick and easy to make.

Artichoke, Serrano Ham




Serrano ham

1 clove garlic

Parmesan cheese

Black pepper

Olive oil


I didn’t write quantities because I would put one artichoke and a small handful of Serrano ham per person, then as much Parmesan cheese as desired.

Boil some pasta in a big pot.

Meanwhile, wash the artichokes. Remove the outer leaves and the stem. Cut into smallish pieces. Peel and cut the garlic. Cut the Serrano ham into pieces.

In a large saucepan, heat a few drops of olive oil. Cook the artichokes for about 4 minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic. Continue cooking until the garlic is more or less cooked. Add the Serrano ham. Cook for another couple of minutes. You may not need to add any salt because Serrano ham is very salty.

Drain the pasta when it has become al dente. Add the pasta into the saucepan with the artichoke and Serrano ham. Mix and cook on low heat for about one minute.

Serve into plates. Add some chunks of Parmesan cheese and sprinkle black pepper on top.

Artichoke Serrano ham and Parmesan Cheese Pasta Recipe

Enjoy your meal!

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  1. sharon 2014-02-16 at 23:17

    Hi Sofia, this dish looks yummy, but I have to say I have never eaten artichoke! and I have not cooked it as I never knew what parts you should (or shouldn’t) eat!… But now I do, so I shall give it a try 🙂

    1. Sofia 2014-02-16 at 23:19

      Hi Sharon, in my next artichoke post (which I haven’t even made photos for yet) will contain an artichoke cooking secret of the universe 😉 How is it where you are? How are the storms? xx

  2. Johnny Hepburn 2014-02-16 at 23:20

    And some would suggest all Spanish accents sound the same. I don’t! In the SW they say things like adio and gracia, which sounds comical. It’s like being up North down South!

    1. Sofia 2014-02-16 at 23:24

      Its like the accents of Brighton vs. Manchester, haha. Yeah, my parents live in the south and I have to readapt each time I visit them, its just like you say: adio, gracia 🙂

  3. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward 2014-02-16 at 23:31

    I love your memory and story… and this recipe. Such high quality ingredients. The jamón serrano looks outstandingly cured, Sofia – and the parmesan cheese hard and flavorful. MMM! 🙂

    1. Sofia 2014-02-16 at 23:33

      It is a very flavourful recipe, you must try it Shanna! Can you get Serrano ham there?

      1. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward 2014-02-17 at 03:19

        Jamón serrano has limited availability in the US, though cured Italian meats are easier to obtain at high-end stores. This being said, anything is available for a certain amount of $$$. 🙂

        1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 10:22

          My brother in Australia says exactly the same. Anyway if you need any Serrano ham, drop me an email 🙂

  4. Dalo 2013 2014-02-17 at 00:26

    Funny story, I think they probably tell this story quite often back in New Zealand (now, that is a beautiful country I hope to visit some day…). Look forward to hearing more on the artichoke. When I was a kid, we’d have artichokes and I liked the leaves, but did not like the heart so it was always funny to see which sister treated me the best during dinner so I could give them my heart 🙂

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 00:46

      They probably do tell this story in New Zealand. Yours is a very sweet story! How many sisters do you have?

      1. Dalo 2013 2014-02-17 at 00:49

        It is a good story, have you (or your friends) heard from the NZ couple? My sisters: three, two older and one twin.

        1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 10:23

          We hear once in a blue moon, but just a hello, don’t know if they are still artichoke mad. Three sisters? So were you spoilt by them or all the opposite? 🙂

          1. Dalo 2013 2014-02-17 at 18:21

            I had a battle every day 🙂 (actually, spoiled pretty much!)

            1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 18:24

              I can just imagine!

              1. Dalo 2013 2014-02-17 at 18:53

                🙂 From your old photo of a child, my guess is you must have been a little spoiled too as a child 🙂

                1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 19:03

                  Hmm I don’t think I was… Only correctly, enoughly (yeah I just invented a word).

  5. Sunny 2014-02-17 at 00:47

    I need to go to bed now before I eat something LOL

    Sooo if we’re taking about artichoke hearts, I’m all for it. Not too sure about the leaves though. I’ve had them once (boiled and dipped in Dijon mustard), but it’s an acquired taste I didn’t quite… acquire!

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 00:51

      That sounds like a more Belgian approach to artichokes maybe! Sweet dreams 🙂

  6. Lisa 2014-02-17 at 01:58

    What a beautiful pasta dish! Looks fabulous.

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 18:13

      I’m glad you like Lisa, and hope you try it!

  7. lapetitecasserole 2014-02-17 at 03:50

    That’s a lovely story! I love artichokes, but I have hard time to find good ones. As soon as I’ll be in Italy I ask my mum to prepare your recipe, it looks so good!

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 18:14

      Oh yes Italy has great artichokes too!

  8. Guillermina Bósquez Stover 2014-02-17 at 04:54

    Wonderful recipe! About Spanish accents: For three GLORIOUS years I lived in Andalucía, in Rota, Cádiz. And the Andaluces have a delightful accent. I am from the U.S. of A., first generation US (parents were Mexicanos), and so the Andalcues would say, “you speak Spanish better than we do!” And I would nod and agree, and in my mind say, “of course!” LOL…

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 18:15

      Haha I agree on that one too, lol

  9. Guillermina Bósquez Stover 2014-02-17 at 04:56

    Oh, and I discovered artichokes through my wonderful husband, about 20 years ago. We simply boil/steam the whole artichoke until tender. And eat it one leaf at a time, dipped in mayonnaise…delicious. After you remove the fuzzy part, the choke is wow, wonderful!

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 18:15

      I’ll have to try it that way that you are saying… Only I don’t really like mayonnaise so will substitute it with something else.

  10. Pemberley Cup & Cakes by Rosa 2014-02-17 at 09:30

    Wow, Sofia, that pasta dish is so yelling at me “eat me, eat me right now”.
    Pasta is one of my weaknesses and your combination is something to die for…

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 18:16

      You must make some then 🙂

  11. Fine Dining at Home (@fdathome) 2014-02-17 at 09:37

    Morning Sofia, my wife adores artichokes. Unfortunately the fresh ones we get over here are quite small and really expensive. When we go cycling in France we see them in the field and want to take a case full home rather than all the wine!

    Great dish to highlight the beautiful artichoke,

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 17:08

      Your wife has good taste 😉 That is the thing with going cycling in fields, you see lovely fresh fruits and vegetables and want to take some…

  12. Mabel Kwong 2014-02-17 at 10:02

    The artichoke pasta looks absolutely delish! Doesn’t look like it is a pasta with sauce. Do you have a favourite sauce to go with pasta? I’m not a huge fan of sauces but sometimes I like them because they give flavour to what I’m eating 🙂

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 18:18

      You’re right, it’s not a (wet) saucy pasta. Gosh what do I like? Pesto, carbonara,… just to name a couple. How about you?

      1. Mabel Kwong 2014-02-19 at 12:40

        Any non-tomato or chilli based pasta sauce is good with me (I get stomach ulcers a fair bit). I LOVE pesto and carbonara. If I have to choose between the two, it would be pesto!

        1. Sofia 2014-02-19 at 12:41

          Really, you get stomach ulcers? Poor you! Lucky my stomach is quite strong as I love chill.

  13. Karen 2014-02-17 at 17:17

    I love artichokes and this pasta dish sounds like a real winner to me.

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 18:19

      I hope you give it a try then!

  14. Laura Lynn 2014-02-17 at 18:18

    Oh, the photography is spot on! Looks wonderful-I’m making it tonight.

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 18:18

      Enjoy it! 🙂

      1. Laura Lynn 2014-02-17 at 18:26

        Need to find Serrano ham. Or maybe prosciutto?

        1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 18:28

          Yes, that will also do the trick.

  15. Mitzie Mee 2014-02-17 at 20:26

    Artichoke and serrano is such a good match:)

    1. Sofia 2014-02-17 at 21:00

      Indeed 🙂 Have a great evening!

    1. Sofia 2014-02-18 at 20:15

      Oh you must try it Jessica! xx

  16. dedy oktavianus pardede 2014-02-20 at 09:25

    Great recipe Sofia!!
    ps: artichoke is quite pricey over hera, a pairs of fresh artichoke could tagged about 15 USD in gourmet supermarket

    1. Sofia 2014-02-20 at 09:37

      That’s very pricey! I’m very lucky then because here when they are in season it’s cheap, I bought 4 pieces the other day for about 1,20 euros (1,65 USD).


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