Motherhood has changed me. We just spent an evening discussing life insurance and wills. I wake up before eight a.m. without an alarm. I no longer pee alone. I don’t shower until noon most days (if I shower at all). And I cook every meal while simultaneously pulling my child out of cabinets, trash cans, and the wash machine … or out from between my legs.
My mom snapped this picture of Jackson last time she was here. He pulls up on my pant legs right behind me and completely immobilizes me. I can’t turn around or squat down to get him or he’ll fall over. Cooking like this is challenging to say the least.
So I love a meal that is quick and easy, but tastes deliciously gourmet. This pasta sauce is exactly that. It takes about five minutes to make and if you pour it over hot pasta, you don’t even have to simmer it. As a bonus, Jackson likes it too, so I can give him little bites of my dinner without making a different meal for him. Mommy and baby approved!
Did I mention there is no cream in this creamy pasta? It’s almost guilt-free, minus the two tablespoons of olive oil. Another bonus for this post baby body!
Creamy Artichoke Basil Sauce
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 T. olive oil
1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts, reserve liquid
1 1/2 roasted red bell peppers (jarred or make your own*)
A palm full of basil, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. Italian seasoning
8 oz pasta (I used whole wheat spiral pasta, but any kind you like would be fine)
In a small skillet, heat garlic and olive oil until garlic is just starting to brown. In a blender or food processor, blend all the ingredients including the sauteed garlic and olive oil. Add reserved liquid** from the artichokes (I think I used about a half a cup) to thin out sauce to desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.
Toss with pasta immediately out of the boiling water. Garnish with a little chopped basil if desired.
*Making your own roasted peppers is easy. Just placing them directly on on a gas burner flame rotating it a few times (like this) or on a pan under the broiler until charred. Then put it in a bowl tightly covered with plastic wrap for a about five minutes. Rub off most of the skin with a damp paper towel. Voila, roasted peppers!
**Pasta water would work great too if you accidentally forget to reserve the liquid from the artichokes. Yes, I speak from experience.
Stir in chickpeas, sauteed veggies, chicken or Italian sausage (or the vegan versions of these)
We are proud Texans in this household….
…but if I weren’t Texan, I’d be Italian.
My mom would say the same about herself. In fact, I think she may be Italian at heart. She lives on Italian time meandering through the day, disregarding clocks and schedules, stopping for a daily afternoon siesta when she gets the yawns. Like a typical Italian mama, she cooks great big delicious meals for family and friends for any occasion that pops up.
I, on the other hand, may more accurately fit the description of the strong willed Italian. Just now as I was browsing for Italian quotes, I stopped on a t-shirt slogan that said “Always right, never wrong…I’m Italian.” Jared peaked over, and quicker than a stallion shot off, “Hey honey, maybe you are Italian!”
Italian food is as diverse as the people from there (or who wish they were). It can be crazy indulgent or mad healthy. Most dishes can be modified to satisfy a meat lover, vegetarian, or even vegan. A dish can have bright and fresh flavors from lemon and rosemary, deep rustic flavors from tomatoes and olives, or rich creamy flavors from cheeses and cream. Kids love it, adults love it. What’s not to love?
This bowtie pasta dish would be great to serve at your next big family gathering. Feel free to mix up the veggies with whatever you have on hand or toss in some chicken or Parmesan for the meat and cheese lovers at the table.
Sun Dried Tomato Bowtie Pasta
16 oz of Whole Wheat Bowtie Pasta (The Delallo line of whole wheat pastas are my favorite)
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts
1 6oz jar of Sun Dried Tomatoes packed in olive oil and herbs
1 small onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow squash, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
A couple handful of spinach
3 tbs of white cooking wine
Salt & Pepper
Chopped parsley (optional)
While prepping the veggies, boil the water and cook the pasta as directed on the box, salting the water liberally.
Chop the veggies and mince the garlic. Julienne cut the sun dried tomatoes, reserving the oil in the jar.
In a large pan, heat about a tbs of oil on med-high heat, add onions and a sprinkle of salt. Sautee until the onions are golden. Add zucchini, squash, and garlic and sautee until soft. Add artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, and white cooking wine and sautee until spinach is just wilted. Gently toss the drained pasta in with the veggies. Pour in just enough of the oil and herbs from the sun dried tomatoes to lightly coat everything. Season with salt & pepper to taste and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
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The Title: Sun Dried Tomato & Artichoke Bowtie Pasta
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