Sometimes I wonder if being back in the kitchen and not home for dinner every night would be easier than deciding what to cook for the family.
As a chef, once you create a menu, you don't experience the decision fatigue of deciding what to cook each night. Instead, all you have to do is execute. Oh, the simplicity: an order comes in, and you cook it. No staring into an open fridge wondering what to do.
Maybe it's a rookie mistake, but I often ask my 3-year-old daughter what she wants to eat. Right now, we are in a mayonnaise sandwich phase. Yup mayonnaise sandos.
Somehow we went from protein with cheese and mayo to cheese and mayo, and now just mayo. I dunno. She must get it from her mother. So on one particular night, the choice was hers, and although I was ready to fire up some mayo sandwiches, she asked for artichokes and pasta.
Phew. A simple pasta dish that's pretty quick to prepare and vegetarian.
Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Pasta
- 8 oz Dried Pasta
- 8 oz Onion "soubise."
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 12 oz canned artichokes halved or quartered depending on size
- 12 oz triple-washed spinach
- 6 oz micro planed/grated parm
- Zest and juice of a lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Onion "Soubise"
- 12 oz Onion
- 2 oz Olive oil
- 0.5 cup Veggie Stock
- 1 tsp Salt
Slice the onion as thin as possible and cook in a covered pan with olive oil and a tsp of salt. Stirring occasionally, "melt" the onions till entirely soft with no color. Deglaze with veggie stock and simmer. Carefully blend till smooth with a stick blender or blender.
Remember that hot liquids in a blender will build steam pressure, so allow space or vent for steam to escape. You can wait till the mixture is cool to blend if you wish. Taste and reseason to your liking.
While this is working, cook your pasta till just cooked, rinse with cold water and set aside; reserve about a cup of the pasta water.
Saute minced garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil or butter; when tender, add your artichoke and saute till warm. Add your pasta and about 4 oz of pasta water. Bring to a quick simmer and add spinach, folding until wilted.
Add the onion until you reach desired creaminess. Melt in cheese, tossing and adding more pasta water if needed to emulsify. Finish with lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper to taste.