Dinner and a Recipe!

I thought I would share with you one of my standbys for when I have guests.  This meal is great for vegetarians and vegans, and I’ve had non-vegetarian people love it also.  Even Andrew, who normally abhors pasta dishes, likes this one.

Ok, so here I’ve served it with cheesy garlic bread, which I know creates a carb overload, but it was for guests, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Also, I actually garnished it.  I normally don’t garnish my dinner, but I love how instantly it makes everything looks so put together.  Anyway, onto the recipe!  To be quite honest, I don’t follow the recipe exactly anymore, I just eyeball everything except the tomatoes and artichokes.
Tomato and Artichoke Sauce
1 (12oz) jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1 (28oz) can of diced tomatoes
~1/2 cup white onion, chopped
~3 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
Parmesan (optional)

1)  Heat the olive oil in a pan (I recommend a deep dish one with a lid.)  Add the onion and the garlic and cook until soft.  If the garlic starts to brown before the onion is soft, just move onto the next step.  It’s more important not to burn anything than it is to get the softness.
2) Add the artichoke hearts.  I normally pick out the hardest pieces when I chop them, but regardless, you want to cook these until soft.  Again, if browning starts to occur in any way, just move on to the next step.
3) Add the tomatoes.  DO NOT DRAIN before adding.  Just dump the whole thing in.  At this point, I put on the lid and let it stew for a little bit.  This will definitely make sure everything softens up.
4) Add the parsley and oregano.  Fresh is best, but if you have dried, it still tastes good.  You can add a little salt and pepper at this stage, but I normally just let people add their own.
5) Let it stew a little longer.
6) To serve, put over penne pasta and top with Parmesan, if you like.  I think it really brings the dish together.  I always use penne with this sauce because the result is more of a chunky sauce and so other pasta shapes don’t tend to do well.