An Okay Outfit + Whole Foods Artichoke Stuffed Pasta

We got back late last night from a delightful trip to our beloved Philadelphia. We used to live there and love that city like none other. We stayed with some dear friends (Dan’s mission presidents, actually) who spoiled us like crazy by cooking/treating us to amazing meals, taking us to incredible concerts, and just generally being fantastic company.

While there, I wore several outfits I loved, but failed to take one single picture. Alas. So while you’re waiting for me to rewear those outfits this week, here’s an outfit I wore several weeks ago and liked but didn’t love. It was comfy and casual and easy, but not extraordinary. Perfect for a take-it-easy sort of Saturday. I’m also including the recipe for the amazing Valentine’s main dish I made last week. Because everyone knows a so-so outfit + an awesome recipe = a pretty good blog post, right?

Sweater: Gap; Vest: old cardi with sleeves cut off; Jeans: H&M; Belt: thrifted; Watch: online; Flats: Target; Necklace: clothing swap


And now for the recipe…I give you Artichoke Stuffed Pasta, adapted from Deb of Smitten Kitchen (aka my food blogger crush). This was perfect for Valentine’s Day – creamy without being overly heavy, and amazingly complex flavors (browned butter, caramelized onions, artichokes…if that doesn’t speak to your heart, well, then I don’t think we can be friends). Deb uses store-bought pasta shells, but since Trader Joe’s didn’t have them on hand and since it was Valentine’s, I decided to go with homemade whole wheat pasta.

Bonus – if you make your own pasta and don’t care about the coloring of the sauce from using wheat flour instead of all-purpose, this recipe is completely whole-foods friendly. That said, making the noodles from scratch adds at least an hour to the process. If you don’t do that, you could have this dish in the oven in 45-60 minutes, easy.

Artichoke-Stuffed Pasta
Pasta (slightly adapted from the Betty Crocker Bridal Edition cookbook)
Either use 1/2 of this whole wheat pasta recipe, or 18 jumbo pasta shells

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup water
1-1.5 tablespoons olive oil

Mix flour & salt in stand mixer. Make a well and add eggs, water & oil. Knead with dough hook for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and let sit for about 15-20 minutes (you can skip this if you need, but the dough will be much easier to work with if you leave it be for a bit). Divide into pieces (I like my pasta thin, so I usually have balls about half the size of my palm) and roll and cut the dough either with a rolling pin/pizza cutter or a pasta machine. I cut mine into rectangles slightly smaller than lasagna noodles. Lay out on kitchen towels and let dry for 20-30 minutes. Boil until al dente and toss with a bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking until ready to assemble.

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped small
12 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
1/2 cup (1 1/4 ounces) finely grated Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 large egg yolks
1.5-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt butter in a heavy 12-inch skillet or pot over medium heat and cook it until it turns nutty and brown, stirring occasionally to keep the solids moving. Once the butter is browned, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the onions and turn heat to low. Cook until onions are lightly brown and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Raise the heat slightly, add the artichoke hearts and cook them until they are softened a bit, about 5-10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and add both cheeses, yolks, lemon juice, salt & pepper and mash with a spatula until the artichokes are separated and incorporated, but still have texture. If you want your filling smoother, you can also do a couple of pulses with an immersion blender.

3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour (wheat works fine, but will make your sauce brown)
2 cups whole milk
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the flour all at once and whisk it until smooth. Add the milk, a little bit at a time, whisking constantly so no lumps form. Once the mixture has reached a batter-like consistency, you can begin adding the milk in larger pours at a time, whisking the whole time. Once all the milk is added, add the garlic and bring the sauce to a boil, stirring frequently. Once boiling, it will immediately begin to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for two to three minutes before stirring in the ricotta, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Remove from heat and adjust salt, pepper and lemon to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour 1 cup of sauce (you’ll have about 2 1/2 cups total) into the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish and spread evenly. Scoop 1-2 tablespoons into each sheet of pasta and roll. Place seam down on the sauce. Pour remaining sauce over the pasta. Cover the dish with foil and bake it for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake it for a final 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley or basil, if using, and serve immediately.

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