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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta with Faux Alfredo

I feel the need to set something straight right away. While the title says faux alfredo, it should really say "alfredo". If alfredo sauce is your all-time favorite, this recipe will sorely disappoint you. You're better off splurging and going for the real thing. But, if, like me, you're more indifferent toward alfredo sauce, this pasta recipe will pleasantly surprise you.

Friend Paige and sister Julia enjoyed this with me. While cooking, Paige was skeptical. We were both a little turned off by the smell of the cauliflower cooking and started contemplating a back-up plan for dinner. Yet all three of us ate up and not a complaint was uttered. Paige likened the pureed cauliflower to mashed potatoes, and felt it would be more appropriately titled "Spinach and Artichoke with Faux Mashed Potatoes"...but that sounds kind of gross. Call it what you will, I guess...and if you try it let me know what you think!

Spinach and Artichoke Pasta with Faux Alfedo
adapted from A Year in the Kitchen

-1/2 box whole wheat rotini noodles
-1 head cauliflower florets
-2 cups chicken broth
-1 bag fresh spinach
-1/4 cup milk
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese (would've increased this but it was all I had)
-2 tbsp low-fat sour cream
-1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
-garlic powder
-salt and pepper
-crushed red pepper flakes

1. Prepare pasta according to box.
2. While pasta is cooking, bring broth to a boil in a large pot. Add chopped cauliflower florets into the pot and cover. Allow to simmer until soft (approximately 10-15 minutes).
3. Wilt spinach in a large pan over medium heat. Set aside.
4. Using an immersion blender (a regular blender or food processor would also work!), puree cauliflower. Add milk, cheese, and sour cream and continue to puree until smooth and liquidy. Add more milk if desired. Season liberally with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
5. Add drained pasta to cauliflower pot. Stir in spinach and artichokes. Heat over low heat until warmed. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper before serving.