Friday, April 20, 2012

Artichoke Baked Rotini - April Pasta of the Month

Because I'm ALWAYS trying to eat right and better, I opted to make a pasta dish with whole wheat pasta.  I've tried several brands over the years and most brands  never "turned me on".  So, either my tastes are changing or the food companies are improving their alternative pastas.    Instead of it tasting healthy (dry and unappealing) this pasta had a nice nutty flavor to it.  Of course, it helps when you add cheese!  Everything tastes better with cheese!

My artichoke baked rotini is also meatless, so I'm already headed on the right track to better health, right?  You can prepare it ahead of time and bake at a later date....for company.  But, it doesn't take long to throw it together for your family during the week!


2 cups whole wheat pasta (dry)

boiling pasta water

salt and pepper

1/2 chopped or sliced onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 handful of basil, chopped

1 roasted red pepper, chopped

1 12 oz bag of artichoke hearts (frozen Trader Joes are excellent)

1/3 cup bread crumbs, seasoned

4 oz mascarpone cheese

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Boil water for pasta and cook rotini until al dente.  Drain, reserving some pasta water for later, and set aside in the large pan.

In a large skillet, saute onion in a little olive oil and then add the garlic, red peppers, basil, artichokes  and cook together for about 5-6 minutes.  Add the skillet contents to the pasta along with breadcrumbs, mascarpone and most of the Parmesan.   Mix well,  salt and pepper to taste.  You may need to add some of the pasta water to get a creamier consistency.   Pour into a 9x13 baking pan.  Sprinkle with more Parmesan.   Cook uncovered in the oven for about 20 minutes.  You can add more mascarpone for a creamy pasta, but it was nice the way it was.  Enjoy!

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