Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

I have been craving spinach and artichoke dip like it’s my job lately. On a recent lunch outing with my coworkers, I ordered it as an entree and wasn’t even the least bit ashamed. I love spinach and I love artichokes and I love mixing them up in a beautiful cheesy dip even more. But it’s not really a dinner… or so I thought until I read this gem of a recipe on the Pioneer Woman’s blog.

Spinach and artichoke pasta! How did I not think of this years ago? This will be a discovery that I will revel in for the rest of my life. But what to do about the fact that Nick doesn’t really like cream sauces? Or about the fact that he wanted me to get spaghetti and meatballs for dinner? I sense that a compromise is in order.

And so my take on a spinach and artichoke pasta combines everything I love about spinach and artichoke dip along with a yummy pesto and meat sauce for my meatball loving boyfriend. To solve for the cheesiness, I covered mine in parmesan:

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And Nick chose to skip the garnish:

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Spinach and Artichoke Pasta

  • 1/2 pound pasta, cooked 1 minute shy of al dente
  • EVOO
  • 2 leeks, cut into half moons
  • 2-15 oz cans artichokes, drained, rinsed and quartered
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 8 oz pesto
  • parmesan cheese, for garnish

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Cook the pasta in a big pot of salty water. In an effort to condense the pasta boxes in our cabinets, I combined some ziti with some corkscrews.

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Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the leeks and artichokes until the leeks turn translucent and the artichokes are heated through. Be sure to season them with plenty of salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.

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Set the cooked vegetables aside in a large serving bowl and keep them warm. Then saute the spinach, in batches if need be, until it is wilted down. Stir the spinach into the artichoke mixture.

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Cook the ground beef until it is browned and crumbly. Drain out any fat and then mix in the pesto. When the pasta is ready, add the beef and pesto mixture to the pasta. Serve everything together with plenty of parmesan cheese on the top.

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