PW’s Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Now I told ya’ll that I love Pioneer Woman’s recipes.  They are scrumptious (her word) and realistic and please a crowd.  With my crew over here, we are a crowd so that is definitely important.  This recipe makes a big ole skillet full and will please your crowd (or a few hungry Cajuns as they say ha ha!!).  This is a meatless dish but you can totally add some roasted shrimp or some grilled chicken if you want to make it a full meal.  Then it becomes a one pot wonder and who doesn’t love that?  I think next time I make this I will add the shrimp and I will substitute the spinach with kale.  It is so creamy and so dreamy and just mmmm…mmmm…can’t talk because my mouth is full GOOD!  Now that Fall is here, this is a great dish to make for friends who come over to watch the game or for a girls’ night in.

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Spinach Artichoke Pasta (Adapted from the Pioneer Woman) 

Makes about 10 servings 

Ingredients

12 oz. penne pasta, cooked al dente

6 Tablespoons butter, divided

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and halved (they do carry them already halved if you want to get those)

2 bags of baby spinach (I used one of those plastic containers of baby spinach they have in the store now and that was plenty)

3 T. flour

3 cups whole milk

1/4 t. cayenne pepper

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

4 ounces cream cheese (optional…but yeah…its good)

1 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated

1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth (less or more, depending on you )

1/2 seasoned panko breadcrumbs

crushed red pepper, according to taste

Instructions

Melt 2 T. of butter in a large skillet.  Over medium heat, add minced garlic and give it a good stir.  Now it is time to simply wilt your spinach.  It will seem like way too much but I promise, it cooks down quickly.  Stir it around until it is wilted or about a minute…then remove from the skillet and then set aside.

Add 2 T. butter to the same skillet and raise the heat to high.  Toss in those artichoke hearts and stir around until they get a little color to them, about 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove the artichokes from the skillet and set them aside.

Reduce the heat to low.  A the last 2 T. of butter to the skillet.  When it is melted, whisk the flour into the butter.  Gradually pour in milk and whisk it in.  Let this cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until it starts to thicken.  Take care to stir frequently and not let the mixture scorch.  Add the cheeses, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper.  Stir frequently to melt the cheeses and if it is overly thick, stir in a little chicken broth.

Add artichokes and cooked pasta, tossing gently to combine.  Gently fold in the spinach.  Sprinkle the top with those pretty red pepper flakes (use sparingly…those babies pack some heat!), plenty of Panko breadcrumbs, and an extra sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.  Now, stop eating it out of the skillet.  Its good right?  Now, dish it up and sit down and enjoy this bowl full of pasta perfection.

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