It is finally spring, and I couldn’t be more glad. While yesterday was the first official day, it is well past time for winter in Cleveland to end.
While our first winter back in the midwest, after 5 years in Charlotte, NC, really wasn’t too bad, I am so ready for spring weather and to FINALLY turn off the heat.
Unfortunately, it still feels like winter weather here in northeast Ohio and it feels like a strange intersection between still craving cozy comfort food and wanting to brighten things up with something a bit more fresh.
Lucky for you, I have the solution – spinach artichoke orchiette. A creamy, cozy pasta dish studded with fresh spinach and chopped artichoke hearts. Everything you love about spinach artichoke dip, lightened up a bit, and tossed with perfect little noodles.
If you’re not familiar orchiette is a shape of pasta that hails from southern Italy. Their name comes from their shape and means “little ears” in Italian because the pasta sort of looks like small ears. Orchiette has been my favorite shape of past since I was a kid. I love the bite to the noodle and how it holds creamy sauces well.
Spinach artichoke orchiette is as practical for Sunday dinner with the family as it is for a week night meal. I think it would be a great course for your easter dinner, maybe with some grilled lamb chops or chicken breast, and almond cake for dessert.
If you’re a fan of spinach artichoke dip, this one is for you.
- 1 lb. orchiette pasta
- 6 c fresh spinach
- 1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained (or sub frozen and thawed)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced (optional)
- 8 oz. mascarpone (at room temperature)
- ⅓ c grated parmesano reggiano cheese
- ¼ t dried thyme
- ¼ t dried basil
- 1 t lemon zest
- ¼ t ground black pepper
- ½ t salt
- ¼ t red pepper flakes, optional
- Extra parmesano cheese to serve
- Fresh parsley or basil to serve
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook orchiette according to package directions, until al dente (with a bite). Reserve 1 c of pasta water just before the pasta has finished cooking.
- While the water boils and noodles cook. Heat 1 T olive oil in a large skillet set to medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the mushrooms if using, and the artichokes, cooking 5 additional minutes. Stir in the spinach, and cook until just wilted.
- With the skillet still on medium heat, stir in the mascarpone until the cheese has melted. Add the parmesan cheese, dried thyme, basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, stir well. Add the lemon zest. Turn the skillet down to low.
- Drain the pasta well and add it the skillet, fold the noodles into the sauce, covering well. Add ¼ c of pasta water and stir well. Add additional pasta water a splash at a time if the sauce is too thick. Taste for salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately garnished with extra parmesano and fresh parsley.
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