Spinach and Artichoke Penne Pasta

spinach-and-artichoke-penne-pasta-1024x768Everyone has enjoyed Spinach and Artichoke dip at some time or another.  It is delicious and addicting.  Some restaurants even serve it as an appetizer.  It is easy to make at home with just a few ingredients and is a crowd pleaser.

Add some penne pasta a bit of bacon and a few other ingredients and you’ve got a delightful twist on that Spinach and Artichoke dip recipe.  I like the flavor that the bacon imparts, but eliminate the bacon and you have a delicious meatless meal. You could, of course, switch pastas to shells or ziti or any other favorite pasta.

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 8 ounces bacon ends & pieces, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, chopped
  • Few grates of fresh nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan, divided

Directions

  • Preheat broiler. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium low heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in milk and bring to a simmer.
  • Add spinach, artichoke and nutmeg and stir until the sauce has thickened and the vegetables are heated through, about 2-3 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in 1 cup pepper jack and 1 cup Parmesan until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in penne and bacon.
  • Spread the penne mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining pepper jack and Parmesan. Place into oven and broil for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Serve immediately.
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