Friday, October 22, 2010

Spinach & Artichoke Pasta

Only one reader liked my 3-day red wine-braised short ribs with porcini and tomato dinner?
That's just... well that's sad really. On a number of levels.
I'll stop shaking my head in disbelief long enough to post another meal, albeit a slightly clichéd one.

I have probably had the same package of frozen artichoke hearts for the past year, JUST IN CASE I ever wanted to make Spinach & Artichoke dip.

Finally, it all worked out.

I was without a protein to make for dinner and scrounging around, finding little in the way of fresh ingredients that would make an inspiring meal, when my brain clicked. I had just registered that I had fresh ricotta cheese and half & half, and I knew I could finally make S&A dip, only I would serve it over pasta so it would be dinner.

Step one: set water to boil and defrost artichokes and spinach
Step two: sauté one medium onion, chopped, in olive oil. Add 3 cloves of grated garlic (allowing 30 seconds to cook out and become fragrant) and toss in 1 package of defrosted artichoke hearts. 

Once the artichokes have warmed through, add in the defrosted (and well-drained) package of spinach and season with salt.
(Optional addition here of 1/4 cup of white wine to simmer and reduce down to almost nothing except flavor.)
Once those have picked up some of the onion-garlic flavor, it's time for the CHEESE!!!
 I used about 7 ounces of fresh whole milk ricotta.
Thin out the cheese into a sauce with any of the following:
chicken stock, half & half, pasta water
Use a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

This time about 1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.
Stir to combine.
If you like nutmeg, this would be a good time to grate a few wafts of nutmeg into the mix.
I like to add the juice of about half a lemon because I think it really brightens what could otherwise be a really heavy, creamy mess.

Check your seasoning and drain the pasta 1 minute shy of the box's directions, reserving a bit of pasta water in case you still want to thin out your sauce. Add pasta to the pan and stir well to combine.

I topped mine with a little more parmigiano reggiano and a little lemon zest.
It's a bit heavy, but it's a delicious indulgence and packed with vegetables.
So long as you keep your portions small ;)

1 comment:

Chuck said...

I sure wish I had read this BEFORE going to the grocery store. I was confounded on what to make for dinner and ended up buying a pre-package roast (all the fixin's included). I would rather have made this. For sure going on my recipe list. And you're right, very sad there wern't other comments on the 3 day meal!