Zio's Italian is my favorite to-go place for a dinner in downtown OKC with friends. It's a chain restaurant and doesn't serve the absolute best food in the area, but it's cheap and they never have a bad night. When you walk into the restaurant, you know you'll get a pretty tasty meal. Each time I visit the place, I order the spinach artichoke pasta without fail. Penne pasta is topped with creamy alfredo sauce flavored by spinach, artichoke, cheese, and garlic; strips of grilled chicken complete the plate. I'm such a big enthusiastic for this dish that I've even converted others. My mom and I take turns ordering this dish whenever we go out to Zio's.

When I was feeling adventurous and charitable on Sunday evening, I decided to make dinner for my parents and recreate my favorite pasta dish at home. I browsed around the internet for a recipe for "spinach pasta," but none of the search results were what I was looking for. So I took a spinach-artichoke dip recipe and adapted it to go with pasta rather than pita chips or crackers.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 5 ounces of fresh baby spinach
  • 8 ounces of frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 jar of Alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins
  • 13 ounces of whole-wheat penne pasta
I used enough oil to coat the bottom of a 10-inch skillet and heated it while mincing the garlic cloves. I threw them in the hot oil along with the baby spinach and frozen vegetables. I let them cook for a bit before pouring the Alfredo sauce into the pan. Once the sauce started bubbling, I added the two different cheeses.

While the sauce simmered, I washed and chopped the tenderloins into chunks. I put them into the sauce and let it cook for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, I boiled the pasta in a separate pot. Once everything was cooked, I tossed the pasta with sauce.

This was a pretty easy dish to put together, and it was comparable to my favorite at Zio's. The whole-wheat pasta wasn't soft enough to my liking. Zio's doesn't use whole-wheat pasta, but I wanted to try it out. I feel that the whole-wheat pasta doesn't mesh well with the sauce. I probably will use regular ol' pasta next time.

I topped the pasta with little zucchini chips. I got the recipe off of my friend Allie's new cooking blog. They are very good, so if you want try these things out, head on over to her site!

3 comments:

  1. Sharona May said...

    Looks very good! I am a big fan of a creamy pasta sauce.

    Sharona May  

  2. Cecilia said...

    Thank you for your comment, Sharona! I hope you'll think about giving this recipe a try; if you do, let me know how it goes for you.  

  3. rebekka said...

    Ooh! Zucchini chips on pasta sounds perfect!