Sunday, June 25, 2017

"Rachael Ray Top 30 30-Minute Meals - Guy Food" - Triple-A Pasta: Spinach Pasta with Asparagus, Artichoke, and Arugula - Father's Day 2017

Date I made this recipe:  June 18, 2017 – Father's Day

Rachael Ray Top 30 30-Minute Meals – Guy Food by Rachael Ray
Published by Lake Isle Press, Inc.
© 2005
Purchased at Arc's Value Village Thrift Stores, Richfield, MN
Recipe:  Triple-A Pasta:  Spinach Pasta with Asparagus, Artichoke, and Arugula – p. 30-31

So today is Father's Day and I thought I was all set and ready to go with a recipe from this Rachael Ray cookbook, Guy Food, when I changed my mind and made something else instead.

Note to self:  Should have stuck with the original plan, Stan!

When I bought this cookbook, I flagged the recipe for "Outside-In Bacon Cheeseburgers with Green Onion Mayo."  My dad loved rare burgers and steaks and this was not a rare burger.  Still, I though this was something he would have enjoyed so I put the book aside and then was all set to prepare a shopping list when I hesitated and as the saying goes "(S)He who hesitates is lost."

Translation:  I made a boo-boo. 

Andy and I have inadvertently been consuming a lot of meat lately and I thought I should perhaps lighten things up just this once, particularly since I made a beef stew the day before.  And so I veered instead toward the pasta recipe, especially since it contained asparagus; my dad loved asparagus.

And it was "fine" as in "nothing to write home to father about" and this bummed me out.  Further, this is not what I am used to with a Rachael Ray recipe.  Yes, the gal's perkiness drives me up the wall, but her recipes have usually been spot on.  This one leaned toward being bland. I don't "do" bland.  Worse, the lemon zest took over the dish and so all we tasted was lemon which was not a bad flavor but not what I expected.   Frankly, the entire time I was making it, I wanted to kick it up a notch with something but as always, made the recipe as written and then pondered options thereafter.

Options 1:  some red pepper flakes.  Options 2: other Italian spices that would go well with asparagus, arugula and artichokes.  Option 3:  I briefly contemplated using fresh artichokes but didn't because I've never made them before and they take some time to prep.  Frankly, I don't think the [canned] artichokes did much for the recipe.  Option 4: add some poached chicken breasts.  Option 5: load it up with some shredded Parmesan cheese?

That day, I went with Option 5 plus I added more salt and pepper and that brought the flavor up a bit (as did overnight refrigeration of the leftovers) but harrumph, I still want more from this dish like maybe an Alfredo sauce.  Or maybe more white wine?  Couldn't hurt, might help!

Now the burger (which I stupidly passed up) was not the only item of interest as there were recipes for "Manly Manny's Chili," "Blackened Chicken Pizza," "Grilled Mahi-Mahi Fillets," and "Tenderloin Steaks with Gorgonzola," all of which sounded good but since I had decided to reroute with the pasta, pasta it was.  Like I said, it wasn't bad but I think there's some tweaking to be done to turn this from just "meh" into "mah-ve-lous!"

As to next year's Father's Day, I'm going back to meat, final answer!

Triple-A Pasta:  Spinach Pasta with Asparagus, Artichoke, and Arugula – serves 4
12 ounces spinach fettuccine, dried or fresh, cooked until al dente
Extra-virgin olive oil, a drizzle
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large or 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
½ cup white wine
1 pound thin fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut on angle into bite-size pieces
1 cup broth, chicken or vegetable
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
24 leaves fresh arugula, torn or coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons zest from 1 large lemon (grate skin, not the white part)
Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
A handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Drain pasta well and drizzle with oil to keep from sticking.  Set aside.

Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat.  Add butter and olive oil to pan and heat until butter is melted.  Add shallots and sauté, 3 minutes.  Add wine and reduce liquid by half, about 2 minutes more.  Add asparagus bits, cover, and cook, 3 or 4 minutes.  Then uncover, adding broth and artichokes to pan.  Heat artichokes through and add cooked pasta.  Sprinkle with arugula.  Toss ingredients until arugula wilts.  Season with lemon zest, salt and pepper, and parsley, to taste.

Serve immediately with crusty bread.  Fresh sliced melon makes a simple and wonderful accompaniment to this meal.


Brian Nystedt said...

I've found frozen artichokes a bit tastier than canned💋😎

Ann said...

I thought about that but it slipped my mind when I was out shopping, dang it! I agree--frozen would have been better.