Creamy Artichoke Pasta

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1 cup whole-wheat orzo 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup chopped leek 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 12 ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, squeezed dry and coarsely chopped or 1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped 1 cup whole milk 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, cut into cubes 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest 2 tablespoons lemon juice ⅔ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided

Ingredients

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Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook orzo according to package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.

INSTRUCTIONS

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Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek and garlic; cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add artichokes; cook, stirring often, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

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Reduce heat to medium. Add milk, cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and 1/2 cup Parmesan; cook, stirring constantly, until the cheeses are melted and the sauce is smooth, about 1 minute.

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Stir in the cooked orzo and 6 tablespoons parsley. Gradually stir in the reserved cooking water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.

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Serve the orzo topped with the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan and 2 tablespoons parsley. Enjoy!

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