Today is National Artichoke Heart Day. The artichoke is the unopened (flower) bloom of the thistle plant. A medium artichoke is fat free and has only 25 calories. Many people shy away from preparing artichokes because they think they are a hassle. In actuality they are extremely easy to prepare. Just trim the leaves around the artichoke and cut the stem. Bring to a boil for half hour and serve with any delicious dipping sauce, such as balsamic mayo or lemon aioli.
Spinach and Artichoke Pasta
1 lb. cooked penne pasta
2 (10 oz.) boxes of frozen spinach
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 and 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 (14oz.) cans baby artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Defrost spinach in microwave. Add cream cheese and warm for 30 seconds. Stir. Heat for another 30 seconds. Stir until combined well. Add mayo, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Add cooked pasta to the spinach mixture with 1 cup shredded cheese and artichoke hearts. Stir to mix well and pour into 9 x 13 pan. Top with remaining shredded cheese and Parmesan. Bake until heated through and golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.
Enjoy with a green salad and some garlic bread!