Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sun-dried Tomato and Artichoke Pasta

I've never made anything with sun-dried tomatoes because it always looked like too much work. On a whim, I bought some "dry" sun-dried tomatoes at Whole Foods for less than $3.

There is a restaurant/sports bar in Durham called Champps where I had a delicious "Roasted Artichoke and Grilled Chicken Penne" pasta. It was not a tomato-based sauce and neither was it cream-based. Instead, it was what I would describe as "broth-based," which is one of my favorites.

I made up this recipe based on a few recipes I read online on how to use sun-dried tomatoes. This recipe is one that you can easily prep the night before by creating your "mise en place" in advance.

1/2 cup "dry" sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
7-8 cloves of garlic, minced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup frozen spinach (fresh would work too)
5-6 marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
Pine nuts, lightly toasted
7-8 grape tomatoes, halved
4-5 servings of any pasta of your choice (rotini, farfalle, shells, etc)
1/4 dry white wine
1/4-1/2 cup chicken broth
3 tbsp+ extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan cheese

1. "Dry" sun-dried tomatoes need to be reconstituted. Place sun-dried tomatoes in a heat-safe bowl and soak in 2 cups of boiling water for approximately 1 hour then slice thinly. Reserve the liquid.

2. Bring salted water to a boil and cook pasta until just before al dente. Try to time the completion of the noodles with completion of the sauce.

3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet and sauté garlic until fragrant. Add sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, and artichoke hearts. Pour in dry white wine and a little of reserved sun-dried tomato liquid and sauté until everything is cooked.

4. Slowly pour in chicken broth and adjust amount based on how much sauce you need to coat the pasta.  Throw in grape tomatoes at this stage to preserve texture and shape.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste until sauce is the right flavor.  (I included some sugar because The Husband does not enjoy overly sour flavors.)

6. Strain the pasta and toss into the sauce mixture. Mix on medium-high heat and ensure pasta is cooked to the right texture.

7. Grate in as much Parmesan you'd like, toss in the pine nuts and serve immediately!

Sun-dried tomato and artichoke pasta with grilled chicken. Bon Appetit! 

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