Spinach and Artichoke Baked Whole Grain Pasta
Combine the classic combo of spinach and artichokes with a creamy two cheese sauce and bake with pasta for a winning casserole.
- 2 boxes frozen spinach (10 ounces each box)
- 1 pound whole wheat or whole grain penne pasta or macaroni (any short cut pasta)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- 1 box frozen artichoke hearts (10 ounces), defrosted, halved and patted dry
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 slightly rounded tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 5 ounces Gruyère cheese (about 1 1/2 cups), shredded
- 1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Position the oven rack in center of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
Defrost the spinach in the microwave. Drain, then dry the spinach out as much as possible by wringing it out in a clean kitchen towel.
Bring a saucepot of water to a boil. Add salt. Add the pasta and cook, according to the package directions for al dente.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO in a small skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the artichokes and cook until they are lightly browned. Add the wine to deglaze the pan.
While the artichokes and pasta cook, in a saucepot over medium to medium-high heat, add the butter. When melted, whisk in the flour for 1 minute or so, then whisk in the milk and season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Adjust the seasonings and stir in the Gruyère cheese. Combine the sauce with the spinach, pasta and artichoke and stir until just combined.
Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and cover with the remaining cheese. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal.
Bake on a baking sheet for 45 minutes, or until brown and bubbly on top.