When we had our children 17 months apart, we didn’t go out much. Go figure.
Every Friday night, the boys’ dad would bring home take-out. I’d get a break from cooking, and he’d get a break from helping me clean up. That was pretty much heaven to the parents of two babies, both of whom had jobs other than the sweet children.
When the kids got a bit older, we’d venture out every now and then, every once in a GREAT while, mind you. Taking two kids under three years old out to dinner isn’t always fun. Plus, they often can’t eat what’s on the menu, so you either have to pack them food or find something to order they’ll like.
One Friday night, we were at a fairly well-known national restaurant, and we ordered spinach and artichoke dip for an appetizer. Our older son, not known for his proclivity for green veggies, kept reaching for it. We finally gave him a taste and he ended up eating most of the rest of it, with a spoon.
I found this recipe for a pasta that mimicked the dish he loved that night, and it’s been a family favorite ever since.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip Pasta
8 oz penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 Tbsp flour
2 cups milk
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (parmesan), grated
1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped
8 oz spinach, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Start cooking pasta as directed on the package. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for a few minutes while stirring. Add the milk and cook while stirring until it thickens up, about 1-2 minutes. Add the cheese and cook while stirring until they melt, about 1-2 minutes. Add the artichokes and spinach, and cook while stirring until the spinach wilts, about 1-2 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste; remove from heat.
Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 497, Fat: 20 g, Trans Fat: 0 g (11 g Saturated Fat, Cholesterol: 97 mg, Sodium: 488 mg, Carbohydrates: 59 g, Fiber: 7.4 g, Sugar: 10 g, Protein: 24 g.
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