Merciful God, You are great in compassion and Your tenderness for us is without measure. We ask You to give us today our daily bread, and also provide for the needs of all of Your hungry children around the world. Through Christ Your Son and Our Lord. Amen.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tomato, Basil and Artichoke Baked Pasta

When we arrived home from vacation late last Thursday night, I had a big van full of duffel bags to unpack and laundry to sort and wash. I had pretty well emptied the refrigerator before we left, and except for a few things we bought home with us on ice (Did I tell you I abhor waste? Yes, I though I did.) I didn't have much in terms of fresh food. I did have canned goods, however, and boxed pasta, and fresh basil in the garden (my herbs are about the only thing producing this year). To avoid a trip to the grocery before I planned my menu, I put this dish together using what I had available. I was in the mood for something comforting and homey and this fit the bill. It turned out wonderfully and I'm happy to add it to my list of meatless dishes I can make on Fridays. With the addition of the artichokes we didn't miss the meat at all. And I can honestly say it was just as good (maybe better) the next day.

I used a can of tomato puree to make my own sauce, but if you already have some stashed away, use it. Or sub with a jar of good sauce. The sauce is crucial, though, so use something you'd eat by itself.

Just add some crusty bread for a fulfilling meal.

Tomato, Basil, and Artichoke Baked Pasta
serves 8

28 oz. can tomato puree
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. sugar
3 T. chopped fresh basil
3/4 pound bow-tie or other shaped pasta
14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
6 T. butter
¼ cup flour
2½ cups milk
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Heat a medium saucepan over med-high heat. Add oil and garlic and lower heat. Heat garlic for just a minute or two until it is fragrant -- do not cook it, you're going for a lightly roasted flavor. Add puree, sugar, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook on med-low for about 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. When seasoning is right, add basil and turn off heat.

Heat water in a large pot to boil; salt and cook pasta to al dente. Drain pasta and pour into a greased 13 x 9 pan. Arrange artichoke quarters on top of pasta.

Make bechamel sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and stir, but do not brown. Add milk and bring to a boil, stirring until bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan.

Pour bechamel sauce over all the pasta and artichokes, but do not stir.
Pour red sauce over bechamel sauce and spread to the edges. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until bubbly in the center.



Sara said...

Yum! That sounds great!

Kimmie said...

Wow, that sounds really good. Your picture made my mouth water.

thanks for sharing.

mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted

cathmomofsix said...

Anything with artichokes work in our family, the more the better. I've put this on my menu for Friday, thanks.