Pasta is always a favorite at our house and a baked pasta dish is especially well received. This recipe combines wholesome spelt tortiglioni with arugula, artichokes and a creamy sauce made from cannellini beans and goat cheese.This cheesy pasta seems indulgent, but the sauce is a healthy lower calorie alternative to a traditional Bechamel sauce because of the beans. The tortiglioni is similiar to rigatoni but narrower in width and has spiral ridges instead of straight. Feel free to use any tube pasta you would like but I always enjoy trying different varieties.
Goat cheese is also a dynamic flavor component that has fewer calories than cow’s milk cheeses and can be used in smaller amounts but will still yield the desired flavor. This recipe also comes together quickly with just two main steps of preparation. The pasta must be cooked to al dente and the arugula is blanched with the pasta for the last 45 seconds of the cook time. The delicious cream sauce comes together in the blender and there are no ingredients that must be pre-cooked. Hooray for a healthy in a hurry dinner!
With guests coming to dinner at our house, I try to prepare the meal ahead of time and keep it simple. By streamlining the preparation and having it assembled before your guests arrive, you can truly enjoy the time with your company and be more relaxed. I have to admit that I have definitely been the person rushing around with five minutes before your guests arrive, washing pans and throwing place settings on the table. I have learned over time though the types of meals to make and those you should avoid when entertaining. A pasta dish like this is great for entertaining because of the simplicity and it can easily be made to serve more guests. You could also add a seasonal salad or a crusty baguette and olive oil if you are feeding a crowd. A nice Italian red wine would be a great addition too!
- 10 oz. Spelt Tortiglioni ( Whole Wheat Penne or Rigatoni would substitute)
- 3 large handfuls Organic Baby Arugula (from a 5 oz. container)
- 14 oz. can Quartered Artichoke Hearts, drained (divided into two equal quantities)
- 15 oz. can Cannellini Beans
- 3 oz. Goat Cheese
- 2 T. Capers, drained
- 2 T. Stone ground Dijon Mustard
- 1 C. Vegetable stock
- 1/3 C. Grana Padano, grated (Parmigiano Reggiano would substitute)
- 1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
- Fresh Cracked Pepper- to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Heat approximately 2 quarts of water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once water is at a full boil, add the 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt. Add pasta and cook according to directions for al dente. When there is approximately 45 seconds left on your pasta timer, add the arugula into the pot. Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain the saucepan into a colander and rinse with cold water to prevent the noodles from sticking. Pour pasta and arugula into a baking dish.
- In a blender, combine one half quantity of the artichokes, the cannellini beans, goat cheese, capers, mustard and the stock. Puree until well combined and fairly smooth, roughly 60 seconds.
- Pour the remaining quantity of artichokes into the dish with the pasta. Pour the sauce over and mix together until noodles are thoroughly coated. Sprinkle grated Grana Padano over the top evenly and cover with foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Grate additional over Grana Padano over top if desired. Serve.