Sunday, August 24, 2014

Spinach-Artichoke Angel Hair Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

So...this week, I learned that I've been typecast--in my own life. Apparently, I play the uni-dimensional role of "princess" or "diva" much better than I knew! What's the reason for this revelation? Well, this weekend, I went for an overnight camping and kayaking trip with a good friend, and everyone who learned about our trip responded in one of two ways: either, "Oh my gosh, you're really expanding your horizons this year! I'm so proud of you!" or "Really? YOU are going camping? I mean, don't take this the wrong way...but you just don't seem very...outdoorsy."
In some instances it made me laugh--people are proud of me for camping? Okay...I'll take it. I was surprised, though, because anyone who has known me for a long time knows that I used to go camping at least once a year, for many years--usually for missions trips to Mexico, in much less comfortable conditions than what we had last night. I've taken many a cold-water bucket shower (or, when I was lucky, I'd get a solar shower).
I know all about the "Please dispose of your toilet tissue in the designated bucket so as not to damage the septic system" notices--and I have inflated many an air mattress manually, with a good old-fashioned air pump. night of camping is no big deal. HA! Anyway, regardless of public perception of our outdoor prowess, we had a great time--we camped, we kayaked, we laughed, and we totally survived :)
Today, I was in the mood for something comforting after such a busy weekend, and this pasta totally fit the bill. It's meat-free, but stuffed with tomatoes, iron-rich spinach, briny artichokes, meaty crimini mushrooms, and topped with salty, creamy shaved Asiago cheese. I didn't really use a recipe today, so bear with me as I create one for you--and as always, please feel free to make your own changes and adjustments to fit your own tastes.
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced (I used crimini mushrooms, or baby Portobello mushrooms)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth (you may substitute chicken broth)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  •  Fresh baby spinach (I used almost all of a six-oz package of spinach)
  • Angel hair pasta, prepared according to directions on package
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Asiago or Parmesan Cheese for garnish (optional)

Add olive oil or butter to the bottom of a heavy sauce pan over medium-high heat; add onion and saute until fragrant and a little brown (about 3-5 minutes). Add garlic and mushrooms, continue to saute until garlic is fragrant, but not burnt.
Pour in tomatoes (no need to drain), artichokes, broth, and wine, and increase heat to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Reduce sauce for 10-15 minutes, until about half the liquid has evaporated, then add the heavy cream and stir. Season well with salt and pepper.

Drain pasta and add to the sauce (optional; you are welcome to serve your pasta and sauce separately), and add spinach. The combined heat of the pasta and sauce should wilt the spinach nicely. Top with shaved Asiago or Parmesan cheese, and enjoy! :)

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