Spinach Artichoke Pasta Bake

Serves 6


3 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil from garlic confit or plain extra virgin olive oil

1 pound regular or gluten-free penne pasta cooked 2 minutes shy of al dente

1 medium yellow onion cut into medium dice

2 large leeks white parts only, sliced into 1/2-inch thick sliced and washed thoroughly to remove any grit.

4 large cloves garlic confit smashed into a paste or 2 cloves raw garlic minced fine

1/2 cup Pedroncelli Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc

10-12 ounces California artichoke hearts, quartered if large. Water-packed artichoke hearts, vacuum-packed artichoke hearts or frozen and thawed artichoke hearts all work here.

5 ounces baby spinach leaves

1 lemon juice and zest divided

1/2 cup California canned green olives quartered

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 ounces cream cheese cubed

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella divided

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley minced

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional (I like 1/4 teaspoon but if you like it spicy go for it!)


Preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking dish with garlic-infused olive oil or extra virgin olive oil and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté for 2 minutes.

Add the leeks and sauté for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the mashed garlic confit ( or minced garlic if using) and cook for an additional 1 minute.

Add the wine and increase the heat to medium-high to deglaze the pan. Use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook for 2 minutes or until almost all of the liquid has reduced out of the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the artichokes and spinach. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the greens are wilted then remove the pan from the heat.

Immediately stir in the lemon juice, green olives, heavy cream, cream cheese, and 1/4 cup of the shredded mozzarella. Continue to stir until all of the cheese has melted and there is a thick sauce that has formed. Taste and adjust the seasoning for salt and pepper.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese, sprinkle with paprika, and bake for 15 minutes, turning the oven to broil for the last 5 minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Garnish with minced parsley, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.