I started with my favorite spinach artichoke dip recipe, added some pasta to make it more meal-worthy and then made a few substitutions in the name of heart health.
The absolute best part about this recipe is that it literally came together in the time that it took me to boil the pasta. It seems like a lot of my recipes have been really time consuming lately so it was really refreshing to make something that was so quick and so delicious. It's a WINNER!
Scroll down to the bottom of the post for ingredient substitutions and add-in ideas
Total Recipe cost: $7.29
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Cost per serving: $1.22
Prep time: 5 min. Cook time: 25 min. Total: 30 min.
|2 Tbsp||olive oil||$0.20|
|4 oz.||neufchatel cheese||$0.85|
|1/2 cup||sour cream||$0.45|
|1/4 cup||white wine||$0.45|
|1/2 cup||grated parmesan||$0.47|
|1 can (14 oz)||quartered artichoke hearts||$1.99|
|1 pkg (10 oz)||chopped spinach, thawed||$1.00|
|1 Tbsp||hot sauce||$0.05|
|1 tsp||red pepper flakes (optional)||$0.05|
|to taste||salt and pepper||$0.05|
|12 oz.||pasta (any shape)||$1.39|
STEP 1: Put a large pot of water on to boil with a lid. When it comes to a boil, cook the pasta according to package directions (boil for about 10 minutes or until al dente). Drain the pasta in a colander.
STEP 2: While you are cooking the pasta, start making the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mince the garlic and cook it in the oil until it is slightly tender (1-2 minutes).
STEP 3: Add the neufchatel (cream cheese), sour cream and white wine. Stir until everything is evenly incorporated. Reduce the heat to medium/low.
STEP 4: Add the milk and parmesan cheese. Stir it in until the parmesan has melted in and is evenly incorporated. Stir in the hot sauce and thawed/drained spinach.
STEP 5: Drain the can of artichoke hearts. Roughly chop them and add to the sauce. Taste the sauce and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if desired.
STEP 6: Add the cooked and drained pasta and stir to coat. Serve warm.
Step By Step Photos
Start by cooking some minced garlic in olive oil (if I had a nickel for every time I've started a recipe like this...)
Add the neufchatel (or cream cheese), sour cream and white wine. Stir until it all melts together. Lower the heat slightly (medium/low) because we're using a lot of dairy products and you don't want them to "break" (that's when the solids clump up and separate from the liquid).
Add the milk and parmesan cheese and stir it until the parmesan has melted in.
Throw in some hot sauce, taste it to see if you want more.
Drain the can of artichokes then roughly chop. This way, every bite gets a little artichoke instead of having 7 or 8 large chunks in the whole dish.
Add the spinach, stir in. Then add the artichokes and stir in. In the picture I added them both at the same time but I would recommend adding the spinach first because it takes more stirring than the artichokes and you don't want the artichokes breaking up too too much.
Give it a final taste and season with salt, pepper and more hot sauce or red pepper flakes.
Add the cooked and drained pasta.
Stir it up and serve it warm!
SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS:
To make this dish less naughty than regular spinach artichoke dip, I substituted neufchatel cheese for cream cheese (1/3 less fat, folks!), nixed the mayonnaise and mozzarella and added in some milk instead. Besides, I needed this to be a bit more saucy than dip-like in order to coat the pasta. You could also sub low-fat sour cream for the regular if you want. I wouldn't suggest using fat free sour cream or cheeses in this as they don't do well texturally when melted or in sauces.
I used white wine in my sauce because it's Friday night and I know I'll finish the bottle. Plus, it was a cheap $6 bottle so 1/4 cup didn't add significantly to the total cost. If you don't want to use wine, you can sub chicken or vegetable broth instead. But let me tell you, the wine adds a fantastic, unique flavor element.
If you don't want to use spicy hot sauce, I would substitute it with lemon juice. You need the acidic tang given by either the vinegar in the hot sauce or the lemon juice to brighten up the creamy sauce. I found that the hot sauce wasn't spicy enough for me so I ended up adding red pepper flakes too.
Okay, one more thing. This is a vegetarian dish but some grilled chicken, crab or lobster meat would be EXCELLENT mixed in. Just sayin'.