Spinach & Artichoke Pasta Bake

After watching numerous videos on ‘spinach artichoke dip’ or ‘spinach artichoke bread’, I jumped on the bandwagon and decided to make a spinach and artichoke pasta bake.

Cheese and spinach I love, so that wasn’t a problem. However, I had never tried artichokes until having this dish. I was a little bit hesitant, but after giving this new veg a taste, it made a great addition. I can understand why everyone loves the spinach and artichoke combination now!

This dish is really simple to make and lends from my Turkey and Bacon Pasta recipe. I added vegetable stock, cream cheese, cheddar, and parmesan to make a flavourful and creamy cheese sauce.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 250g pasta of your choice (I used wholewheat fusilli)
  • 150g baby spinach
  • 1 can (400g) artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (I prefer Knorr)
  • 30g grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp light cream cheese (I used Philadephia Light)
  • 100g grated mature cheddar (use 40g for topping)
  • 1 tsp season-all
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (for topping)
  • 1 tsp black pepper (1/2 tsp for topping)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/ gas mark 4.
  2. Boil the pasta according to packet instructions, but remove from the heat 2 minutes before the suggested time.
  3. On a low heat, melt the butter in the pan and then add the flour. Stir for 2 minutes until the mixture becomes a smooth consistency.
  4. Pour in a quarter of the milk at a time, then the stock cube, and stir until the mixture blends smoothly.
  5. Add in the cream cheese, grated parmesan and cheddar, and stir until the cheeses melt into a smooth mixture.
  6. Add the spinach, artichokes, season-all, ground garlic, paprika and black pepper into the pan. Stir into the sauce until the spinach wilts. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  7. By now, the pasta should be cooked. Drain and add the pasta to the sauce, stirring until the pasta is covered evenly.
  8. Pour the pasta into an oven dish, top with the cheddar, paprika, and black pepper, and bake for 15 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!
Spinach Artichoke (1)

Tip: If your sauce is too thick, add some milk. If it’s too thin, add more flour and cheese.


Turkey & Bacon Pasta

This meal has become quite the go-to. All made in one pan/pot, and is super easy – just be ready to chop up some meat and veg. I have tried this meal with various combinations of turkey, chicken, bacon, and pancetta – they all work great. If you want an extra punch in the cheese sauce, add some grated mature cheddar. The recipe below focuses on the natural sweet and nutty flavour of parmesan, which I love.

Serves 4

460 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 250g pasta of your choice (I use penne, or fusilli)
  • 300-350g turkey breast steaks, sliced or diced
  • 150g diced bacon
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • 1 large red bell pepper, sliced or diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 large handful of spinach
  • 1 tbsp season-all
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Method

  1. Boil the pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil into a large pan on a medium-high heat.
  3. Add the pieces of turkey breast steaks, bacon, bell pepper, season-all, paprika, ground garlic, and black pepper to the pan, and fry for 6-8 minutes. Once cooked, remove the turkey and bacon, but keep the juices in the pan.
  4. On a low heat, melt the butter in the pan and then add the flour. Stir for 2 minutes until the mixture becomes a smooth consistency.
  5. Pour in a quarter of the milk at a time, and stir until the mixture blends smoothly.
  6. Add in the grated parmesan and stir until the cheese melts and the mixture is smooth.
  7. Add the diced tomato, spinach, bell pepper, turkey, and bacon back into the pan. Stir into the sauce until the spinach wilts. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  8. By now, the pasta should be cooked. Drain and add the pasta to the mixture.
  9. Serve your turkey and bacon pasta with a sprinkling of black pepper, and a few extra shaves of parmesan.

Red Snapper with Pasta & Tomato Sauce

One of my favourite types of fish is the red snapper. It’s lean, moist, and has a distinctive sweet taste. This fish can stand up to many combinations of seasonings too. I made it pan-fried, and served it with some fusili and a quick tomato sauce. It was a very filling dinner, and takes 30 minutes to make (if you’re good at multi-tasking!). I tried this meal with rice instead of pasta, and it was just as tasty.

Serves 2

380 kcal per serving

Ingredients

  • 2 red snapper fillets
  • 180g pasta
  • Vegetable or sunflower oil

For the Tomato Sauce

  • 4 vine tomatoes
  • 125g white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp all-purpose seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp honey

Method

  1. Boil the pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil into a large pan on a medium heat.
  3. Blend 2 of the vine tomatoes, and dice the remaining 2.
  4. When the oil has heated, add the diced bell pepper, diced and blended tomatoes, and mushrooms into the pan. Add the tomato puree and mix together.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce to the pan. Lower the heat slightly, and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. When the sauce is nearly finished cooking, lightly season the red snapper fillets with 1/2 tsp of all-purpose seasoning.
  7. In another pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil on high heat.
  8. Lay the fillets gently into the pan, skin side down. Fry for 2 minutes.
  9. Turn the fillet to its other side and fry for a further minute. Leave to rest afterwards for 2 minutes.
  10. By now, everything should be ready to serve.