A couple of weeks ago Blogher sent out an e-mail inviting 200 interested bloggers to cook something with Knorr chicken stock as part of a contest. The prize is a trip to a Blogher conference in San Diego. I said, “Yes please!” and filled out my application. A few days later, I got some chicken stock in the mail. Easy peasy. But then I had to decide what to cook. Soup is made with stock, right? And, as you know, I have some really great soup recipes . . . but that seemed too easy. And not quite right for July. There’s risotto, of course. I’ve never met a risotto I didn’t like . . . but I couldn’t come up with anything special to add to the many tasty risottos I’ve had. So I turned to pasta. I wanted something good for the carb-loading days before the race. Something that would pack a protein-filled punch to help rebuild the muscles that have been broken down over the past several weeks. And something that would not make my small children run from the room yelling, “I DO NOT LIKE DINNER!!!” Which happens more than I care to admit.
I took some inspiration from here (Deb always does good work, always), and from a recipe from my church cookbook (thanks Becky!) and came up with a meal that would make the carb-loaders among us happy and those who are just out for a yummy, easy — but slightly sophisticated — meal even happier.
As for the stock, it was possibly the easiest part of the prep for this dish. I just tossed it in the blender with beans and some water and had a tasty sauce ready to go. I definitely like that it is compact — much lighter than a quart sized box of broth, which means less for me to carry home from the grocery store, or that I have more room in my grocery bags for other things.
And as for the dish, Micah liked it. I liked it. Manchild wouldn’t feed it to himself (don’t get me started) but admitted that it was good when I fed it to him. And Squish liked it well enough to eat a whole plateful and then some. So what I’m saying is, it’s good. Tasty and healthy. Worthy of any pasta party and perfect for a simple, interesting weeknight meal.
But is it good enough for a trip to San Diego? We’ll just have to wait and see.
MotherRunner’s Linguine with Artichokes in Bean Sauce
cooking time: 15-20 minutes
1 lb. linguine
2 cups cooked white beans (navy, cannellini, Great Northern), or 1 can of white beans
1 tub Knorr chicken stock
1 cup water
2 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup black olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
2 T. lemon juice (or juice from 1/2 a lemon)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 T. chopped fresh parsley
Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Salt generously, add linguine, stir, and let cook 7-8 minutes, until pasta is al dente. Drain in a colander and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, put beans, stock, and water in a blender. Blend until smooth. Set aside. In a large skillet or sauce pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until starting to brown, about 30 seconds. Add the artichoke hearts, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the bean sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the parmesan cheese and stir until melted. Stir in lemon juice, salt, and a couple of grinds of pepper. (Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed.) Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Serve onto plates (or bowls!) and sprinkle with parsley and additional parmesan cheese.