Penne with Artichokes…and How I Started This Blog

by Kathy Strahs on March 8, 2011 · 22 comments

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How many times have you come across a recipe like the one below for Penne with Artichokes on a food label? A tiny 3″ square with no photo or headnotes, significantly truncated to fit on the box?

Penne Rigate with Artichokes recipe from a De Cecco box

Recipes like this are kind of mysterious. You have no idea of what the dish looks like or how it tastes and it can be a challenge to decipher the oh-so-brief directions. It was mysterious little on-the-package recipes like these which sparked my interest in starting this blog two years ago. There were so many of them popping up on labels in my pantry, I became very curious to see how they actually came out and hoped to find some hidden gems along the way (which I have).

You guys know that when I say food packages I don’t mean “packaged food”, as in mixes and prepared or processed foods, right? Every once in a while someone will indicate to me that they think Cooking On the Side is about cooking with processed foods and I cringe. Yikes, it’s just the opposite!

Wherever possible, I like to cook from scratch. For this blog, I look for the recipes that appear on basic ingredients – flour, butter, fresh meats and vegetables, pasta, chocolate and so on. I have found a number of fabulous new recipes in the course of this little endeavor – and today’s easy, flavorful tomato and artichoke pasta dish is one of them.

So now you can see what that tiny 3″ square recipe on the back of the De Cecco penne rigate box actually looks like. It’s one of those incredibly simple, homey pasta dishes that will be a perfect addition to your repertoire of quick weeknight dinner options. The recipe left out a few details, such as whether to use fresh or jarred artichoke hearts or how long to simmer the artichoke sauce, so I filled in some of the details as seemed right to me.

I’ve seen little recipes like these on each of the different De Cecco boxes – now I’m anxious to try them all.

Penne with Artichokes

See the Recipe Index for all the recipes on Cooking On the Side.

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linda March 9, 2011 at 6:50 AM

this looks delicious!
i bake your chocolate rugelach all the time…it has become a staple in my kitchen…& i have shared the link with my baking friends!
thanks so much!


Kathy March 9, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Thank you so much, Linda!


Maria March 9, 2011 at 7:15 AM

I love artichokes, especially in pasta dishes. I can’t wait to try your recipe!


Mindy March 9, 2011 at 8:31 AM

When I saw the recipe on the box, I wondered if they were really calling for 5 artichokes or 5 artichoke hearts. You used hearts? (I can’t imagine using whole artichokes, but that’s what it calls for!) Did you use fresh or jarred?
Mindy´s last blog post ..Fig and Walnut Spread


Kathy March 9, 2011 at 8:38 AM

See what I mean? Cryptic! In the ingredients list it only said artichokes but in the directions it said artichoke hearts. Thanks for reminding me to change that in this version of the recipe. I went with marinated hearts in a 6 oz jar.


Megan March 9, 2011 at 9:14 AM

Pasta and artichokes seem like a match made in heaven. I love to try those little recipes tucked away on the side of boxes. This looks like a must try!
Megan´s last blog post ..100-2355-edited-1


Chelsea March 9, 2011 at 4:49 PM

It’s here! THE artichoke recipe — thank you! I used to think I craved artichokes when pregnant, but it turns out I was just pregnant all the time and didn’t realize that’s how often I crave them -lol. Thank you for this fabulous recipe… with picture and all 🙂


Kathy March 9, 2011 at 5:07 PM

I guess we’ll know for sure now that you’re all done, right?! 🙂


Emily March 9, 2011 at 5:01 PM

This looks and sounds delicious! Lovely photos, as always.


Taylor March 9, 2011 at 5:46 PM

I’ve always wondered about those recipes on the side/back of the pasta boxes! This looks like a wonderful weeknight pasta dish! Yum!
Taylor´s last blog post ..pan seared salmon with yogurt dill sauce


Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls March 9, 2011 at 9:12 PM

This looks wonderful! Wow! Love this dish and can’t wait to try it!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls
Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls´s last blog post ..Upside Down Banana Toffee Cake


Sharlene March 9, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Wow. With such a beautiful dish I wonder why they don’t make it more enticing by placing a picture on their packaging? Thanks for sharing!
Sharlene´s last blog post ..Coconut Half-Pound Cake


Peggy March 12, 2011 at 8:22 AM

I love the concept behind your blog and I love that I can finally put pictures to that tiny little 3″ spot!


vanillasugarblog March 14, 2011 at 5:50 PM

i miss pasta 🙁
(being good with very low carbs)
but i did make an artichoke pie sans the crust.
this summer i will save this dish to devour.


Kristen March 20, 2011 at 6:15 PM

I love the premise behind this blog and always have. It takes the mystery out of those delicious recipes on the sides of boxes.


Aaron April 5, 2011 at 2:09 AM

Thanks for testing out this recipe since its always nice to have pictures. Just made this tonight and it tasted exactly how i thought it would–ONO (hawaiian for delicious). I made some additions to take it even further:

Grilled chicken breasts seasoned with just salt and pepper
1/8 c of sundried tomatoes added with the artichokes
Red pepper flakes for some extra heat
Also added about 1/2 c of pasta water to the sauce when simmering

It was so easy…definitely need to make this again.


Kathy April 5, 2011 at 7:14 AM

Those sound like fantastic additions, Aaron – thanks so much for sharing them!


Abigail @ November 4, 2011 at 5:12 AM

Yum – this was really great! I made it last night actually, and it turned out very well! I found your blog just a few days ago actually and had planned to make it soon. I’m now checking out some of your other recipes! Meanwhile, this penne with artichokes is going to be a regular with my family!!
Abigail @´s last blog post ..Fat Loss Programs For Men and Women:


Ann August 16, 2013 at 3:24 PM

I have been cooking this dish for many years and it is a favorite. It is great as a pasta salad served cold as well.


Jeri March 6, 2014 at 1:15 PM

I made this numerous times and received rave reviews! Unfortunately, during several moves, I haven’t been able to find it. This is it!! Thank you! It is a wonderful, wonderful recipe!


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