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Jan 22, 2013

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

I couldn't figure out what to make for dinner! Ever had that happen? I failed at menu planning this week, therefore I had nothing prepared for dinner. After looking through the fridge I knew I had fresh spinach I needed to use. So I went to google and went to work. Then I came across this recipe. Of course, this was it! It, after all, was a recipe by my favorite Food Network Star, The Pioneer Woman!

Her recipe serves 10. Um, it's two of us. So I halved the recipe for us. Also, the recipe calls for penne pasta, I used elbow noodles. I know that does not change the taste but it didn't look quite as fancy. :) I paired this with chicken. Warning:  This in no way is healthy or diet friendly.

This is the halved recipe :)

3 Tbs butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced (I always use my pampered chef garlic press)
1 bag baby spinach
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
1.5 Tbs flour
1.5 cups whole milk
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup mozzarella or monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup chicken broth (I didn't use this)
6 oz pasta (penne) cooked until al dente
1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
crushed red pepper, to taste

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large pot or skillet. Add garlic and throw in the spinach. Stir it around until it's wilted, about 1 minute. Remove spinach from heat and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to the same pot and raise the heat to high. Throw in the halved artichokes and stir it around until they get a little color, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the artichokes from the pot and set them aside.
Reduce the heat to low. Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pot. When melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk until it's combined. Pour in milk and whisk to combine. Let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until starting to thicken. Add Parmesan, Mozzarella/Monterey Jack, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir to melt, and if it's overly thick, splash in chicken broth.
Add artichokes and pasta, tossing gently to combine. Gently fold in spinach, then pour the pasta into a serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with crushed red pepper flakes and plenty of Panko breadcrumbs for crunch.
Serve immediately!
This was so delish! And it was hubby approved!