Any Shape Pasta with Artichoke Hearts and Sun Dried Tomatoes

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It was a stormy, rainy summer evening. I had gone for a walk and got caught in the rain. It was rather fun, but as soon as I got back home and changed clothes, I knew I was in for the evening. I was hungry and did not want to trek back out for groceries. I took inventory of what I had on hand for dinner and came up with this dish. As I moved the garlic through the simmering olive oil in the skillet, I realized that this delicious aroma is one of my favorite childhood memories. Every Sunday morning, my Italian Mom would prepare a pot of spaghetti sauce. She would begin the process with the infamous simmering garlic and oil combo. The scent lingers deliciously in my mind. I also realized how easy it is to cook up something quick but equally delicious and nutritious. The best part is accomplishing a delightful dish like this with so few ingredients. The tomatoes, artichokes, garlic, and olive oil come packed with health enhancing phytochemicals, which I have outlined below. My husband and I just love this one…..so yummy!

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Ingredients

¼ cup good quality olive oil

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ cup sundried tomatoes, rehydrated and thinly sliced

1 package frozen artichoke hearts

3 large plum tomatoes, skin removed, chopped

Handful fresh basil, chopped

Salt and black pepper to taste

16 oz. Tinkyada penne pasta

Parmigiana (grated) to sprinkle on top

Method

Cook pasta per package directions unitl al dente. While water boils and pasta cooks, sauté garlic in olive oil. Do not brown or burn. Add both type of tomatoes and continue to sauté in the olive oil and garlic for a few minutes over low heat. Add the defrosted artichoke hearts and salt and pepper to taste, cover and simmer for a few minutes. Toss in fresh basil at end of a few minutes. Mix cooked, drained pasta into sauce adding some reserved pasta water to loosen up. Serve with a sprinkle of parmigiana cheese.

  • Artichokes-contains a flavonoid phytochemical that offers anticancer protection through its ability to act as an antioxidant
  • Tomatoes-cooked tomatoes, especially those cooked in oil, are rich sources of lycopene, thought to be responsible for protecting against prostate cancer ;they are also a rich source of beta-carotene
  • Garlic-contains the phytochemicals allicin and ajoene, thought to be responsibe for lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and possibly reducing the risk of stomach cancer
  • Olive oil- rich in polyphenols, substances that have been found to be powerful antioxidants capable of protecting against certain types of disease; add a splash of extra virgin olive oil at the end while mixing the pasta with the sauce for an extra dose of polyphenols;extra virgin olive oil is richest in polyphenols

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