Spinach Artichoke Whole-Wheat Penne

Total Time:
35 min
Prep:
15 min
Cook:
20 min

Yield:
4 servings
Level:
Easy

Ingredients
  • 1 pound whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) can or 1 (10-ounce) box frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted, drained and quartered
  • 1 small bundle farm fresh spinach, stems trimmed
  • 1 shallot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock, just eyeball the amount
  • A handful fresh mint leaves
  • A handful lightly toasted slivered almonds
  • Kosher salt or freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic - peeled
  • A handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Directions
  • This is a dish that can stand alone as an entree or be served up as a side. The flavors will remind you of decadent spinach artichoke dip - made with mounds of mayonnaise and tons of cheese. This dish however is a figure-friendly fake-out full of vitamins, fiber and protein. Even the spinach pesto is made with half the amount of extra-virgin olive oil I usually use, due to the addition of vegetable stock.

  • Place a large pot of water over high heat and bring up it up to a boil to cook the pasta, season with some salt and cook to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water.

  • Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in medium nonstick skillet. Add artichokes to heat through and lightly brown at edges.

  • To clean spinach, fill sink with water, swish spinach around and let grit fall to bottom of sink. Dry leaves before using.

  • In the bowl of a food processor add the shallot, 1/2 cup chicken stock, spinach leaves, mint, almonds and salt and pepper, to taste. If you have a hand held small-holed grater or a zester, grate garlic into the food processor. Adding a whole clove can result in stray big pieces of raw garlic, too bitter to bite down on. If you do not have a hand held grater, mince garlic and mash up into paste with a little salt. Turn processor on and add in about 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.

  • Scrape the spinach pesto into the artichoke pan and loosely cover with foil. Bring mixture to a simmer over low to medium-low heat and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, the pasta and the cheese. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce and heat for 1 minute. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.


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