Simple pasta bake with marinated artichokes sounds so complicated doesn’t it? I sure didn’t mean to make it sound that way. It’s a recipe that started out being called, “clean out your fridge” pasta bake, but for some reason that just didn’t sound as appetizing.
And if we are being honest here, it’s a recipe that I’m going to share with you in different configurations and with different flavor profiles over the next few months, so I thought I’d get specific now.
This pasta bake with marinated artichokes is one that you can make at a moment’s notice. Most of the ingredients you already have in your pantry or refrigerator, and if you don’t there are lots of substitutes that I’ll share that will still make a great and simple dinner.
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What if I don’t have all of the ingredients?
It’s so easy to substitute ingredients in this pasta bake, that’s what makes it such a simple recipe. Well that and the fact that you just have to boil pasta, mix everything else in one bowl and then bake the whole thing. Nothing complicated here!
Here are some of the substitutions that I have successfully tried in the past:
- Don’t have jarred pasta sauce → use canned tomato sauce and add some salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon sugar (to cut acidity) and italian spices
- Don’t have ricotta cheese → use cottage cheese
- Want to add more veggies → try canned mushrooms or frozen peas
- Don’t have regular milk → use any milk substitute you’d like
- Don’t have marinated artichokes → use frozen. Be sure to defrost and dry them well before adding to the pasta bake (but I highly suggest that marinated artichokes become a pantry staple for you)
Can the pasta bake with marinated artichokes be made ahead of time?
Yes. definitely yes. You can make this recipe the night before, cover with aluminum foil, unbaked, and then bake it anytime the next day. Being able to prepare this dish ahead of time means it’s great for busy weeknight dinners. It’s also great for potlucks, for families with new babies, for friends who need a little extra hand.
It can also be cooked all the way through, cooled and frozen for reheating at another time. Make sure you wrap the top tightly in a layer of plastic wrap and aluminum foil. I would freeze up to 3 months.
In either of these two cases, I would make one slight adjustment to the recipe. You’ll want to add extra liquid (I would use extra pasta sauce) to the recipe (an extra ½ cup - 1 cup will do the trick). This way the noodles don’t absorb all the flavors, and if you are reheating it, the pasta bake doesn’t become dried out.
What’s with the marinated artichokes?
Here’s the story. I wasn’t a big artichoke lover for a long time. Today, I would say I’m a fan, but not a lover like the husband. He loves the things. So I started buying them at Trader Joe’s a while back (the place where so many new flavors are found) and tried some recipes out so that I could use them to cook with instead of him just eating them straight from the jar.
There are three types of artichokes in glass jars at Trader Joes. I like the grilled marinated artichokes best in this recipe because of the depth of flavor it provides. However, any type will work. Marinated whole artichokes (found at most grocery stores) will work just fine once you cut them up. Chopped artichokes (aka artichoke spread at TJ;s) work just as well. Find what you like and go for it. And then go crazy adding them to all sorts of things. And here’s a tip: the grilled ones make for a great pizza topping.
Tips and Tricks:
- When reheating leftovers, you may want to add a bit of extra pasta sauce so that nothing dries out.
- Remember you can also substitute the cheese varieties here. Use what you have, grate your own, whatever works for you.
- This recipe makes a lot, so there are lots for lunches, however, this recipe is easily halved so feel free to make less if you are cooking for small numbers.
Looking for other easy pasta recipes? Check these out!
Simple pasta bake with marinated artichokes
- 1 lb dried pasta normally one box, i like to use penne, rigatoni, or rotini, but use your favorite
- ½ cup milk any type will work
- 8 oz ricotta cheese i like whole milk ricotta
- 1 ½ cup shredded cheese i like mozzarella, but an italian blend would work well too
- 1 54 oz jar marinara sauce or any tomato based pasta sauce you like
- 1 jar marinated artichokes drained
- preheat oven to 400 degrees
- spray an oven safe dish with cooking spray
- cook pasta according to directions on the box for al dente. the pasta will keep cooking as it bakes
- mix remaining ingredients except for ½ cup shredded cheese and artichokes in a large mixing bowl
- when pasta is done cooking, drain well and add to the mixing bowl
- chop artichokes to desired size (if using chopped, just add into the mixture) and then add to the mixing bowl
- pour everything from the mixing bowl into the prepared dish
- top with remaining cheese (and a piece of artichoke or two if you want it to be fancy)
- bake at 400 until cheese is golden brown and pasta is bubbly, about 20 minutes (you can blitz under the broiler if your cheese is at peak meltiness and you are getting utzy)
- take out of oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving
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