Green Giant Fresh Blog

Try our Artichoke, Mushroom and Pasta Toss Recipe

Ah, the artichoke. Such an interesting-looking vegetable, one that dates back to Ethiopia and is recognized as one of the oldest-known cultivated foods. It was considered to be a reliable digestive aid by ancient Greeks and Romans, but due to its scarcity, was only available to royalty with big bucks in those Mediterranean countries.

Artichoke Mushroom Pasta Toss

This silvery green globe was brought here to the U.S. by French and Spanish explorers and, today, 75 percent of our chokes are grown in California’s Monterey County. In fact, the town of Castroville bills itself as the artichoke center of the world. (Here’s a fun fact: Guess who was crowned queen of the 1948 Castroville Artichoke Festival? Would you believe it was Marilyn Monroe?)

Those wealthy Greeks and Romans knew what they were talking about when they said artichokes are good for the digestion. Modern-day testing in the United States has shown that artichoke leaf extract has potential value in relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, the vegetable is an excellent source for fiber, magnesium and mineral chromium. They’re also a good place to find Vitamin C, folic acid, biotin, as well as niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, Vitamin A and potassium. Talk about a nutritional powerhouse!

But a real health benefit that’s drawn a lot of attention these days is the artichoke’s capability to cut cholesterol. It seems the bitter, but pleasantly nutty flavor  of the artichoke is due mostly to cynarin, a chemical substance within the plant that reduces total cholesterol — by an average of 20 percent! In addition, another compound within the plant was found to reduce LDL cholesterol by almost 23 percent.

This health news all sounds well and good, but the question is this: What’s a fresh way to present artichokes to your family in a new and delicious way? Especially when you really can’t beat the simple, classic formula of artichoke leaves + melted butter or mayonnaise = delicious.

Maybe you ought to introduce them to our Artichoke, Mushroom and Pasta Toss Recipe that you can prepare for six hungry diners in 25 minutes from start to finish:

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium Green Giant® Fresh artichokes
  • 2 2/3 cups uncooked penne pasta (8 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 8 oz fresh whole mushrooms, cut in half
  • 1 jar (7 oz) roasted red bell peppers, drained, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preparation Directions:

  1. Remove any discolored leaves and the small leaves at base of artichokes. Trim stems even with base of artichokes. Cutting straight across, slice 1 inch off tops and discard tops. Snip off points of remaining leaves with scissors. Rinse artichokes with cold water.
  2. Place artichokes in an 8-inch square glass baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water; cover with plastic wrap, folding back one corner 1/4 inch to vent steam. Microwave on High 15 to 20 minutes or until bottom is tender when pierced with knife. Drain artichokes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook and drain pasta as directed on package. Place pasta in large bowl; cover. Remove artichoke leaves; reserve. Using small knife or melon baller, dig out and discard fuzzy choke and inner pointed leaves. Cut artichoke hearts into fourths.
  4. In a10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook artichoke hearts and mushrooms in oil 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add artichoke hearts, mushrooms and remaining ingredients to pasta; toss. Spoon pasta mixture onto large serving platter; place artichoke leaves around pasta. Serve immediately.

To see more dishes that target the wonderfulness of artichokes, visit our quick search recipe finder and continue to impress your family with your produce prowess.

Leave a Reply