It’s the time of year when I just want a quick, easy, comfort food meal. Lots of holiday cooking. Rushing around to parties, gift shopping. It’s crazy sometimes! It’s also a time of year when leftover cheese seems to multiply in my fridge because of parties and potluck recipes.
This recipe is an antidote. Easy. Quick. And, I can use up leftover soft cheese. I use Boursin here but cream cheese, Neufchatel, or some other brand of semi-soft spreadable cheese will work.
I use canned artichoke hearts (I like Trader Joe’s) but you can use some cooked green vegetable like broccoli or asparagus instead.
I use dried herbs – they are always in my pantry. I crush them in my palm to make the bits of herb leaves smaller so they distribute through the sauce better. Crushed dried herbs also release the scent and flavor more fully.
Creamy Tomato pasta
1/2 lb penne pasta
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 14.5 oz can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp dried basil, crushed
pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
freshly cracked pepper to taste
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 14 oz. can whole artichoke hearts, drained and cut into quarters
2-3 oz. Boursin garlic and herb cheese, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Bring water to a boil in 3 quart saucepan. Add the pasta and cook until tender (9-11) minutes. Drain the pasta in a colander. Rinse out pot.
Heat up olive oil in the saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic, cook for an additional minute.
Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and water to the pan and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Add artichoke hearts and simmer for another 3 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low. Add Boursin cheese to the sauce and whisk to combine. Add mozzarella cheese and stir to melt. Serve immediately.