Hello? Is anybody still out there? I've totally neglected my blog this past week because my work/life schedule has been sooooo crazy-busy! I am a Wellness Specialist with an employee wellness company, and we started our annual fitness testing for all the employees this week. I also signed up for an assignment to do a "Lunch & Learn" about healthy cooking substitutions which consumed MUCHO time, I covered a shift for someone, and my volleyball league started, so things have really been all over the place...but in a good way haha. I pretty much had to choose between sleep and blogging, and sleep clearly won. Although I've been tired a lot, so who knows if all these blogging withdrawals have been worth it?! Anyway, I'm back, and I hope some of you will come back with me!
So, this recipe's been in the pipeline for a little while - there was clearly no time for cooking this week. It didn't take long to make at all, which means I probably could have made it this week if I'd really wanted to. I have to admit that I'd never made something of this same green brightness before, so I was a little bit concerned, but the first bite wiped out any fear or reservation I may have had. It was spectacular!!! Dick loved it, too, of course. Another home run by the lovely, talented, and I'm not gonna lie I think she's a little high strung, miss Rachael Ray. It may very well be one of her infamous 30-minute meals, but I wouldn't know because I just found it online when I was searching for spinach recipes. I bought this 3 1/2 lb bag of spinach at Costco thinking oh, we'll definitely eat that, piece of cake. But let me just tell you, 3 1/2 lbs of spinach is pretty deceiving in a bag because that is a lot of freaking spinach!
Anywho, hope you like this one just as much as we did.
Spinach Artichoke whole-wheat Penne
From Rachael Ray of the Food Network
1 pound whole-wheat penne pasta
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 (15 oz) can or 1 (10 oz) box frozen artichoke hearts, drained & quartered
1 small bundle farm fresh spinach, stems trimmed
1 shallot, peeled & roughly chopped
1/2 c. chicken or vegetable stock
a handful of fresh mint leaves
a handful lightly toasted slivered almonds
kosher salt and black pepper
1 large clove garlic, peeled & minced or grated
a handful grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and reserve about 1 cup of cooking water.
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in medium non-stick skillet. Add artichokes to heat through & lightly brown at edges.
In bowl of food processor, add shallot, chicken stock, spinach leaves, mint, almonds, garlic & salt & pepper, to taste. Turn processor on and add about 2 Tbsp olive oil.
Scrape the spinach pesto into the artichoke pan & loosely cover with foil (I used a lid). Bring mixture to simmer over low to med-low heat and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, the pasta & the cheese. Toss to coat the pasta with the sauce and heat for 1 minute. Transfer to serving bowl or platter, season with salt & pepper to taste, and serve.