If you love the TGI Friday’s legendary Spinach and Artichoke Dip, then impress your friends by making a version of it that is a little lighter and better on your heart. If you really need an entree for your weeknight but are craving a break from a heavy meat meal, and the pasta version of this meal will certainly satisfy you. This recipe can be made without pasta to make a delicious Spinach and Artichoke Dip, or with pasta to make a delightful baked pasta.
The key ingredients in this recipe are all cheese: mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and cream cheese. The other big ingredient is sour cream. In order to lighten the recipe, I recommend using low or no fat sour cream. You may also replace it altogether with a sugar free Greek Yogurt, such as Fage’s 2% or 0% milk fat versions. Philadelphia Cream Cheese and other brands also feature low or no fat versions, which can cut out up to half the fat. For the pasta, I favor a long and skinny shaped pasta that will adhere to the cheese nicely. I use Gemelli pasta. Although Gemelli looks like it is two pastas twisted together, it is actually just one S-shaped strand of pasta twisted and looped back around.
What You Need
1 lb long shaped pasta, such as Gemelli pasta
1 medium yellow onion
1 tsp minced garlic
½ cup of sour cream or low fat Greek Yogurt
4 oz cream cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to remove water
½ cup mozzarella, shredded
Directions:To make this as a pasta entree, begin by cooking pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain, reserving ½ cup of pasta water. Meanwhile, in a small pan, heat onions and garlic over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. In a large plastic bowl, mix ½ cup of sour cream with the 4 ounces of cream cheese and 1 cup parmesan cheese.
When onions have caramelized, stir into the bowl with the other ingredients. Drain the artichoke hearts and give them a rough chop. Make sure your spinach is fully thawed and chop. Next add the can of artichoke hearts and chopped spinach to the bowl and stir. Then add mozzarella, cooked pasta, reserved ½ cup of water, and stir, coating thoroughly.
In an 8×10 glass casserole dish, pour the pasta mixture into dish and bake in a hot broiler for 5-8 minutes. Serve hot.
Directions to make as a dip:To make this dish as a dip only, simply eliminate the pasta and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or enough time to ensure the spinach and artichokes are warm. Serve with Sun Chips, Blue Corn Tortilla Chips or your other favorite dip.
For the cream cheese, it helps if it is warmed to room temperature before mixing.
To add an extra crunch, top with bread crumbs.
Do not rinse the pasta. The only time you should really rinse the pasta is if you are making a cold pasta salad and do not want the starch.
Often you need a little extra water in the pasta for the sauce, which is what this recipe uses with the ½ cup of water.