Ossobuco (peacebone) wrote in dragons_cook,

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Spinach & Artichoke Pasta Casserole

I am making this for my mom's and my dinner tonight on a whim, after seeing something vaguely like it on the Food Channel. You must be careful about the spinach that you use - definitely go with super-fresh organic spinach. It should be crisp and green and slightly sweet and full of flavor.

Also note that you can skip the "pasta casserole" part of this and just pop the spinach-artichoke mix under the broiler for a few minutes (top it with cheese first), and you have yourself a lovely, chunky, cheesy spinach and artichoke dip.



1/2 lb small pasta, such as penne or ziti
2 tbsp olive oil
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced or grated
1/2 sweet yellow onion, finely diced
1 can (14 oz or so) quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 small lemon
1 lb fresh organic spinach, torn up or coarsely chopped
A small handful (maybe 1/2 cup) spearmint leaves, minced
2 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
4 to 6 oz feta (goat's or sheep's milk if at all possible)
1 cup grated parmesan
Salt, pepper to taste

Start the water for the pasta. Heavily salt the water. Get started on the following, but don't forget the water! When it boils, add the pasta and cook to about one minute short of al dente. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, let cook for a few minutes, and then add the onion. When the onion is translucent, add the artichoke hearts and turn up the heat just a little. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze both halves into the skillet (careful to avoid getting seeds in your food), and stir to distribute the juices. Cover and let cook, stirring every now and again, until the hearts are mushy and well done. Reduce the heat, add the spinach, mint, and tomatoes; cover again, and leave until the spinach is quite wilted. Uncover and let a little of the liquid cook off, and then dump it all into a large mixing bowl.

Crumble or dice the feta, and stir it into the mix along with about half of the parmesan. Taste and season. When you're satisfied, add the pasta, stir thoroughly, and pour into a large casserole dish. Evenly sprinkle with the rest of the parmesan, and put in the oven at 350 degrees.

Currently mine is still going; I'm thinking 45 minutes or so is a good enough cooking time, but we'll see. I'll probably update this when it's done and we have devoured it. Maybe pictures, too.

Edit: seems that 35 to 40 minutes might be plenty; also suggest covering dish with aluminum foil to reduce drying out the top.

Edit again: totally delicious. Mom loved it.
Tags: artichoke, casserole, dip, pasta, spinach, vegetarian
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