Tuesday, October 6, 2009

rainy day comfort food

It has been a cold and rainy October thus far, and last night I was really in the mood for some comfort food.   This recipe relies heavily on canned food and isn't fancy in the least, but it was warm and bubbly and cheesy and yummy.  It ended up being a cross between Italian baked pasta and good old midwestern casserole.  Sorry for the lame photo, but I had been painting all day and was really hungry, so I didn't take enough time for a decent photo.  It tasted way better than it looks here.........

Rainy Night Pasta Bake

2 cups cooked pasta
1/4 c chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1  8 oz jar quartered artichoke hearts
1 c fresh spinach
4 T butter
3 T flour
1 c milk
1/4 c parmesan
1/2 c shredded cheese
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (or fresh if you have them!)

-saute onion and garlic in olive oil until just translucent
-add artichoke hearts and saute for 2 more minutes
-add spinach and saute until spinach is wilted

-spray 8 x 8 glass dish lightly and add pasta
-spread artichoke mixture over top of pasta
(okay, here I also added a few kidney beans for protein, and because I love to put beans in just about anything-your choice to add them or not-you could also add cooked, chopped chicken)

for Bechamel sauce
-melt butter in small saucepan
-slowly add flour, stirring well to avoid lumps (do not brown)
-add milk and cook until bubbling and thick
-stir in half of parmesan

-pour this over pasta and artichokes
-pour tomatoes over this
-top with shredded cheese (i had cheddar, but would prefer provolone or mozzarella) and remaining parmesan
-bake at 375 for 20-25 min until heated through and bubbly

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