Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Back of the Box: Pasta with Artichokes and Butternut Squash

It's been a while since I've done a back of the package recipe, so I did a little searching in my pantry and found this box of shells, with a good-looking recipe on the back. If only I had butternut squash and baby artichokes lying around, I wouldn't have to go to the store but alas I found myself searching the produce section yesterday. Butternut squash was no problem but the baby artichokes were nowhere to be found. Second store, jackpot! A little pricey though at $6 per pound...asparagus or sugar snap peas would probably make a good substitute.

Barilla Pasta with Artichokes & Butternut Squash
1 box Barilla Medium Shells - Conchiglie
1 butternut squash, diced
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
12 baby artichokes, quartered
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake butternut squash until slightly brown and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute onions for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Then add artichokes, season with salt and pepper and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Combine with roasted squash.

Cook pasta according to package directions (8 minutes). Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the water. Add liquid to sauce and stir well. Combine pasta with sauce and top with cheese and parsley.

By the time I had cut these and got the camera out, they were already starting to brown. Soak them in cold water if you want to prep them ahead of time.

Janet's Notes: If you haven't ever eaten baby artichokes, you're in for a treat. Take off all the tough outer leaves until you get to the soft inside leaves; they'll be a pale whitish-yellow. Cut the top off to remove any thorny leaf ends, and the bottom of the stem, and then quarter to use for the recipe. (There is no choke to remove.) Most Trader Joe's stores sell them, though they weren't there the last time I went. Don't you hate it when Trader Joe's stops carrying items you count on? Sorry, still bitter from the ground turkey breast discontinuation of '08.

Also, I overcooked the squash so it mushed instead of staying in chunks, which turned out better in the end--the kids got some nutrition in spite of themselves.

Verdict: Good, simple, and healthy weeknight meal. I added meatballs but if I had gourmet chicken sausages I would have done that instead.


  1. And they no longer carry the Angus burgers we used to love.

  2. I would just love to HAVE a Trader Joe's around.

    The pasta dish looks sooo delicious, bet it was just as good (if not better) than it looks. Artichokes, in any form, are a favorite around my house.
    Usually the recipes on the back of boxes and cans are good as they want to sell their product and can't afford to advertise a less than knock-out stellar recipe.

  3. You're right. As much as those discontinuations drive me crazy, I am thankful for Joe.

  4. I love Joe!! And nearly everything he Trades too...
    I'm new to artichokes though. Had a bad one when I was a kid and never ate them again till last spring break when a friends grilled them and I couldn't get out of tasting them without looking bad. So I tried it, loved it! Now I'm eager to try a recipe of my own, this one looks good!