FB Plugin

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Garlic Artichoke Pasta

I <heart> artichokes.  They're supposedly cancer-fighting and they're exotic and they're amazing with butter.  That's the first thing that made me want to try this recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Better Than Mom's Slow Cooker Recipes book.  The second thing was that this is a recipe that is made practically entirely from pantry goods without being one of those can-of-cream-of-death-soup type of recipes.  You can buy all the ingredients you need for this ahead and keep them on-hand as a pantry meal kit.  You can also prep the crockpot mixture ahead to fridge or freeze.

Until I had a toddler, we never had dairy beverages in the fridge routinely.  I had to buy milk or cream or half-and-half specifically for a recipe that called for it.  These days, I use whole milk for all recipes calling for cream or half-and-half because it is what we have in the fridge.  So use whatever you happen to  have here (or use canned evaporated milk, if you are like pre-toddler, dairy-drink-less me) if you throw this recipe together out of "ingredients on hand".  If you're planning to make a meal kit for this recipe, you can freeze an appropriate amount of milk or cream, rely on having some in the fridge on Dinner Day or buy canned evap milk for the "pantry kit". 

Comparatively, cream and half and half will be the highest in calories and fat, then evaporated milk and regular milk.  If you get non-fat evap milk, you'll get the best of both worlds...the lighter caloric/fat profile of milk with the rich mouthfeel of cream.

So a meal kit for this recipe will look like this: canned tomatoes, canned artichokes, box of pasta and can of evap milk (if using) labelled and stored in the pantry with garlic+dry herbs and milk/cream (if using) on hand or frozen in ziptop bags.  OR everything except milk mixed together and frozen with pasta/evap milk in the pantry.

The one gripe I have about this recipe is that it's a crockpot recipe that still requires significant cooking right before dinner.  The joy of the crockpot is that you don't have to cook at dinnertime, right?  Boiling pasta isn't hard, but getting the water up to a boil takes time...more time than I'm willing to spend to "finish" a crockpot meal. 

The solution is to cook the pasta almost fully in advance, toss it with a bit of oil or butter to keep it from sticking, fridge it and stir it into the crockpot at the end to warm up and finish cooking through.  Or you can boil the pasta at the last minute, whatever works with your schedule.  Just please don't rinse the pasta...rinsing washes away starch which will prevent the pasta from sticking to itself but then it also won't stick to the sauce.  Besides, the starch is where the flavor lives (yes, pasta does have a flavor of its own) so rinsing washes away flavor, too.

Garlic Artichoke Pasta
Makes 6 servings

3 15 oz. cans diced tomatoes, 1 undrained, 2 drained
2 15 oz. cans quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup cream, milk or evaporated milk
1 lb. dry pasta, any shape
1 tbsp oil or butter (for cooking pasta in advance)
parmesan (optional)

Mix together 1 can undrained tomatoes, 2 cans drained tomatoes, drained artichokes, herbs, and garlic in the crockpot.  Cook on low 6-10 hours. 

Cook pasta ahead, if desired.  If cooking ahead, drain 1-2 minutes short of recommended cooking time.  Toss with 1 tbsp butter or oil to store for next-day or same-day cooking.

To finish dish, turn heat to high on the crockpot.  Stir in milk/cream and pasta.  Heat until pasta is warm, about 10 minutes. Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment