Say hello to my new favorite pasta.
Spinach + Artichokes + Garlic + Lots of Cheese + Whole Grain Pasta = cold weather comfort food heaven.
If you’re looking to add another meatless main course option to your holiday feast, this pasta is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
I mean, it’s essentially Spinach & Artichoke Dip, albeit in pasta mode.
And you can make it up to three days in advance and just pop it in the oven whenever you need it.
If you’re a fan of crispy pasta edges, this recipe is for you.
If you’re a spinach & artichoke dip lover, this recipe is for you.
If you’re into indulgent-meets-healthy foods, this recipe is for you.
If you’re a pasta loving fool, this recipe was made for you, my friend.
It’s hearty, warm, cheesy, loaded with spinach and artichokes, extra filling from all that fibaaah (er, fiber), and is perfect for feeding all those wayward family members that tend to show up this time of year. Trust me, they’re gonna love it too.
Instead of a milk-based sauce, this pasta is built with a broth-based sauce; that way, all the flavors of spinach and artichokes can shine through. And yet, despite it’s apparent lack of mac-and-cheese qualities, this baked pasta is filled with plenty of mozzarella and Parmesan and tons of veggies and whole grains. It’s healthy-meets-indulgent-meets-downright-delicious.
If you make this recipe, let me know how it turns out! Leave a comment below, or take a picture and tag me on Instagram! I can’t wait to see your cheesy, saucy, loaded pasta goodness!
- 16 ounces whole wheat rigatonio, penne, ziti, or other short pasta
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 12 ounce frozen artichoke hearts (or a 14oz can, drained)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 4 ounces grated parmesan cheese
- 1. Turn the oven on to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and a big pinch of salt, and cook according to package directions, until al dente. Drain pasta and set aside.
- 2. While water boils/pasta cooks, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat (if you have one that's oven-proof, you can bake the finished dish right in the same skilled you use to make it in!). Add artichoke hearts and sautee for 5-10 minutes, or until golden and fully defrosted. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and break up the artichokes with your spatula/spoon to get them into slightly smaller chunks. Remove artichokes from the pan and set aside.
- 3. Put the remaining olive oil in the pan with the minced garlic and flour, and stir for about 30 seconds before adding the broth and whisking to remove any lumps of flour. Turn heat to high and, once boiling, return heat to medium and stir in the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and frozen spinach (no need to squeeze out the liquid, but it helps if you break it up in the bag so it's not one giant lump, before adding it to the pan). Let cook for a minute or two, until spinach is defrosted.
- 4. Turn off the heat and add half of the shredded mozzarella and all of the parmesan to the saucy spinach mixture. Add the drained pasta and reserved artichokes, and stir everything together. If you used an oven-safe pan, top the pasta with the remaining mozzarella and put the pan in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. If your pan isn't oven-safe, pour the contents of the pan into a large casserole dish, sprinkle with mozzarella, and bake. In either case, you may need to turn the oven to BROIL in the last few minutes of baking for an extra golden top and crispy pasta edges, if you're interested in either of those things.
- 5. Serve immediately, or let cool completely before covering and storing in the fridge for up to 5 days. Note that this pasta will start to absorb any excess liquid while stored in the fridge, so I recommend reheating leftovers with an extra splash of broth on top, just to moisten it back up!
- To make in advance: cook pasta for 1-2 minutes less, so it's cooked but firmer than al dente, then follow directions up until step 4, when you will top the pasta with the remaining mozzarella, but let it cool completely at room temperature before covering and putting in the fridge for up to 3 days. When ready to eat, drizzle an extra 1/4-1/2 cup of broth over the unbaked pasta, preheat oven to 400 and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.