Do you love spinach and artichoke dip as much as I do? I could pretty much eat it for a meal (and have on occasion), but when you make it in pasta form, you don't feel AS guilty since you CAN eat it for a meal. The Pioneer Woman does not disappoint with this recipe.
Is this the healthiest recipe ever? No. Is it super tasty and worth it? Yes absolutely!
What You Need:
~12 ounces penne pasta
~6 Tbsp of butter (see? I said it wasn't healthy)
~2 bags of baby spinach (I only did one for this recipe, but could see doing 2)
~2 cans artichoke halves drained and halved (or get quartered artichokes)*
~3 Tbsp flour
~3 cups whole milk (I used 2% and it was fine)
~1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
~salt/pepper to taste
~ 1 1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
~1 1/2 C mozzarella cheese (or monterey jack), grated
~1/2 C low sodium chicken broth
~1/2 C Panko bread crumbs, seasoned (I just used plain and added in some italian seasonings)
~Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.
*When I make this dish again, I'm going to chop up the artichokes more than just in quarters so it's less chunky, and more artichoke throughout the pasta
What You Do:
1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente.
2. Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a large pot or skillet, then add in the garlic and spinach. Stir until the spinach is wilted, then remove it from the heat, and set aside.
3. Add 2 Tbsp of butter to the same pot/skillet and raise the heat to high. Add in the artichokes and stir them around until they brown up a little bit (~2 minutes or slightly more). Remove them from the skillet.
*Mine didn't really "brown" after a few minutes, so I just removed them after that time and it was fine*
4. Reduce the heat to low and add in the last 2 Tbsp of butter. Once melted, add in the flour and whisk together. Pour in the milk, continuing to whisk and let it cook for 3-4 minutes, when it starts to thicken.
5. Add in the Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese, salt/pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir until it melts together. Add in chicken broth if it's too thick (I did not need to add any in)
6. Fold in the artichokes and the pasta. Then add in the spinach. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes (if desired) and Panko breadcrumbs for some crunchy goodness on top!
You could easily bake this dish so it all kind of cooks together a little bit more, but you don't have to. I didn't, and it was phenomenal as it was.