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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blue Cheese Artichoke Pasta

This is a fairly strong tasting pasta sauce, thanks to the blue cheese.  If blue isn't your thing, you can use less or sub in something you do like...feta, parmesan, shredded asiago, manchego, whatever floats your boat.  You must leave in the artichokes though...they are one of the top 5 cancer-fighting foods on the planet.  I heard it on Dr. Oz, so it must be true ;-)  

When it comes to browning mushrooms, I've found that a little benign neglect is the way to go.  Get your pan hot and your butter melted, put the mushrooms in and WALK AWAY for a few a minutes.  I mean, don't leave the house or anything, but go clean the cutting board.  You more you fiddle with them, the less they brown.

Blue Cheese and Artichoke Pasta
Makes 6 servings
2 tbsp butter
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
1 15-oz can artichokes, cut up
1 13-16 oz. box pasta, any shape

(If prepping ahead for same-day or next-day cooking, measure and chop all ingredients.  Combine 2 tbsp butter and 3 tbsp flour in a container, keep remaining ingredients separate.)

Saute the mushrooms in 2 tbsp butter over medium-high heat, if you like them browned, or over medium heat if you just like them soft (about 5-7 minutes).

Lower heat to medium.  Add the additional 2 tbsp butter to the pan.  When melted, whisk in flour.  Cook 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk 1 cup at a time.  When all the milk is added, turn the heat up to medium-high until the sauce is simmering.  Return heat to medium and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, until slightly thickened.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If preparing a freezer kit, freeze the sauce now and label the pasta and can of artichokes for pantry storage.  When ready to cook, thaw and reheat the sauce.  You may have to add a little milk to get the consistency you like.  Add chopped artichokes.  Boil the pasta according to the package directions.  Toss drained pasta with sauce.
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