This recipe is a love letter to one of my favorite restaurants in Brooklyn. The chef does a play on pasta c'anciuova e muddica atturrata, which is Sicilian-style pasta with anchovies and toasted breadcrumbs, but he adds fish sauce for an intense umami boost. I first made this dish during the summer, when I crave pasta al limone, so this recipe became a hybrid of the two. The addition of the artichokes helps brighten it up even more.
For the pasta: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the boiling water with salt so it tastes as salty as a broth; it is important that the pasta water it is not too salty because it will help season the sauce. Add the pasta and cook for 2 minutes less than the package directions for al dente pasta.
For the breadcrumbs: Put the butter and anchovies in a small nonstick pan and cook over medium-high heat, swirling the butter and stirring the anchovies until the butter starts to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the panko and cook, stirring continuously and tossing, until the breadcrumbs are golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in the lemon zest and set aside.
For the artichokes: Line a plate with paper towels. Heat a large saute pan or braiser over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and artichokes, cut-side down, and cook until the artichokes have a dark, golden brown crust, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the prepared plate and sprinkle with salt.
Put the butter in the same pan and cook over medium heat until melted. Add the garlic and anchovies and cook, stirring frequently, until the anchovies start to turn dark brown and the garlic is very fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water and stir to emulsify. Add the pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce coats the pasta and the flavors come together, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and toss to coat.
Divide the pasta into bowls and top with the artichokes, parsley if using and breadcrumbs.
Feel free to substitute the canned artichokes with 28 ounces frozen artichokes, thawed and patted dry.
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