YOU GUYS, lemony spinach and artichoke brie penne pasta today, I am so excited.
I am aware this pasta is kind of an indulgent Wednesday recipe, but it is SO worth it! And very spring inspired, thanks to all that spinach and lemon and those delicious artichokes. Oh my gosh, it’s just so good, talking about it, and staring at these photos, is making me think I need to recreate this recipe (for the fourth time in a matter of weeks) for dinner tonight. This really is just THAT good.
But then, what on Earth could not be loved here? Pasta? Lemon? Spinach? Artichokes? BRIE?! All good on their own, but combine everything together in a pasta dish?
Do you guys remember on Monday how I mentioned I has having some hard days the other week? Well, this pasta is the result of those hard days. Like most people, I totally crave comfort food when I stress. My comfort foods are kind of odd in that a lot of them are super healthy. I’m talking roasted veggies, fresh fruit, and tons of avocado. <–the foods I live off of most weekdays when recipe testing is not happening.
Along with those super healthy things though, I also love pasta and cheese. I mean, DUH…it’s pasta and cheese. Yes, please! Plus, I was raised by a mom who could live solely off of pasta. My mom loves pasta more than anyone I know, and could eat it simply with butter and salt every day for the rest of her life (while you might have to add some bread in there too). It’s her favorite.
Anyway, I decided I would combine all MY favorites and make one cheesy, buttery, and veggie filled pasta. Again, I know it maybe sounds indulgent, but hey, there is spinach and artichokes in here…so it’s totally healthy. Right? right!
The secret to this pasta, I mean aside from the brie (oh the brie!), is the olive oil/garlic/artichoke situation. Instead of just tossing everything together, first cook the garlic and artichokes separately in olive oil. Slow cooking the garlic in olive oil, along with the pine nuts, crushed red pepper flakes, and artichokes, allows the garlic to caramelize and infuse the olive oil with serious, but subtle garlic flavors. And while the garlic slowly caramelizes, the artichokes are frying in the olive oil, getting just slightly crisp on the edges. Yep, it’s the KEY to this recipe.
I’ve found with a lot of artichoke recipes that the artichokes just kind of fall to the wayside and are more on the bland side. But cooking them in olive oil and getting them a little crisp makes all the difference. Honestly, if you guys have never tried cooking the artichokes in oil first, you have to do it now. It is a game changer.
The rest of the recipe goes as follows: boil the pasta, toss it with the brie to melt, then add the artichokes and lots of fresh lemon, and DONE. Dinner in thirty minutes and it’s probably one of the best you’ll make all week. <– for real.
Lemony Spinach and Artichoke Brie Penne Pasta
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 2 tablespoons raw pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1 (8 ounce) jar marinated artichokes hearts, drained
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 8 ounces brie, cubed
- zest + juice from 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, sliced (optional)
Heat the olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, crushed red pepper, and artichokes in a medium skillet over medium low heat. Cook, stirring often until the garlic is caramelized and the artichokes begin to fry and crisp on the edges, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and then stir in the spinach, cook 30 seconds and then drain. Add the pasta + spinach right back to the hot pot along with the mascarpone, brie, lemon zest + juice, and about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Toss until creamy and combined. Add the basil and artichokes + oil, stirring to combine. Thin the sauce as desired with more pasta cooking water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with jalapeños. EAT!
Wednesday night, cheesy pasta. YES!