Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

My family eats entirely way too much meat. Whenever my dad cooks (which is some weekdays), I always cringe at how much meat ends up on my plate (except when its steak.., haha). So when I take over the kitchen, I always like to do meatless dishes. But if you ask my dad what he thinks of any meatless dish, he'll say, "It needs some bacon or something!" It's not that he's picky, he just loves the "mesquite flavors" on all of his meat dishes. So here began my challenge.

My inspiration came from Budget Bytes. Now, I can't say enough about her blog. Not only does she whip up some really amazing food, but she is extremely budget-friendly. Seriously, go check out what she does. She's amazing!

Oh, by the way. A quick disclaimer. Please excuse the Thanksgiving-style tablecloth. Really, I understand its May. Hey, everyone deserves to let the laundry pile up every once in awhile! Anyways..

I followed her (recipe) for this amazing Spinach Artichoke Pasta. It tastes like you took the best possible spinach artichoke dip and added pasta! But with no meat, I knew it could go either way with my dad. So I guess we'll see!

Oh, and a little side note. I learned something (well, a few things) while making this dish. Beth over at Budget Bytes used bow tie pasta, and I wanted to do the same because it looked oh-so-yummy. So I'm going through my cabinets, looking for pasta called bow tie pasta. Assuming we don't have any, I go to the store. There, I find bow tie pasta. And its called farfalle pasta! Whoops, my bad. At least the store is only ten minutes away and I needed artichoke hearts anyway! Haha, sometimes I make myself laugh. That's a good thing, right?

Anyway, here is the recipe.

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Adapted from Budget Bytes (recipe)

- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4oz. neufchatel cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I added a little more.. no one ever said no to a little more cheese ;) )
- 1 can (14 oz.) quartered artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
- 1 package (10 oz.) chopped spinach, thawed
- 1 tablespoon salsa (I used mild because I'm not so much of a spice person)
- salt and pepper
- 12 oz. bow tie (sorry, farfalle) pasta

1. Begin to cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box
2. While the pasta is cooking, begin the sauce. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Once its warm, cook the minced garlic in the oil until it is tender, about 2 minutes
3. Add the neufchatel cheese, sour cream, and white wine. Stir until everything is evenly incorporated
4. Reduce the heat to medium/low. Add the milk and Parmesan cheese
5. Stir until the cheese is melted. Add the chopped spinach. Drain the can of artichoke hearts, roughly chop them, and stir them in. Season with salt and pepper
6. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, and add it into the sauce. Stir and coat the pasta. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on the top

Yum! About halfway through cooking it, my dad came in and joked about adding some "mesquite flavoring." Oh, dad.

So what was the verdict?

Well, by the look of his plate, he enjoyed it! (Although he probably won't admit it..)

I can't wait to make this again. I have so many ideas for it! Adding lemon juice, using cheese-filled tortellini instead of bow tie pasta.. the possibilities are endless. And you can add or subtract as much spice as you like! Mm, or mushrooms. I always love a good customizable dish! What would you do with it?

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