Eggplant & Artichoke Gemelli Pasta

What’s great about pasta, is that the options are endless, and it’s usually a fairly quick meal to make. I love going into my fridge and seeing what I can come up with during the weekday using whatever I have on hand. This pasta in particular I made with eggplant, marinated artichokes, spinach, and some fire roasted crushed tomatoes. Quick, easy, and delicious!

Ingredients: (serves 1 hungry person)
2 small garlic cloves
1 14.5oz can roasted crushed tomatoes (or whatever you have on hand!)
2 large marinated artichokes, cut in half
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 large handful fresh spinach
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese, for topping
Gemelli pasta

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the eggplant slices and artichokes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the eggplant is softened through. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, cut both the eggplant and artichokes into smaller chunks.

In a medium pan, saut̩ the garlic in olive oil and cook until softened Рabout 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5-7 minutes then stir in the fresh spinach as well as the cooked eggplant and artichokes.

Cook the pasta per the box instructions, and reserve some of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss well to coat all the noodles. Cook for 1-2 minutes, adding splashes of the pasta water as needed to keep the sauce smooth. Plate and top with Parmesan cheese!

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Artichoke & Spinach Stuffed Shells

Last night was one of those nights when you go through everything you have in the kitchen and try to come up with something creative just so you don’t have to go to the store. I looked around and had an onion, spinach, a can of artichokes, and some leftover pasta shells. Done…stuffed shells it is! This could not have been easier, and it was pretty good for an experimental dinner!

Ingredients: Serves 3
1/2 box jumbo pasta shells
1 cup ricotta cheese
(half) 14oz can whole artichokes, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can tomato sauce (if no herbs, add a big pinch of dried basil, oregano, salt and pepper)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Small handful fresh chopped basil, for serving (optional)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Get a large pot of salted water boiling and cook the pasta shells as directed. Make sure not to overcook them as they will continue to cook in the oven.

Head some olive in a large pan, add the garlic, onion, and a little salt and pepper. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, then toss in the chopped spinach and artichokes and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Let cool slightly. In a large bowl mix together the ricotta, cooked vegetables, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Pour some of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, then fill each pasta shell with some of the filling and place in a single layer. Cover the shells with some more pasta sauce, and top with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for another 5 minutes. Top with some fresh chopped basil and serve.