Pour uncooked pasta into a large stock pot.
Add mushrooms, artichoke hearts, garlic and thyme.
Pour 4 1/2 cups of water over all. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and continue boiling, uncovered until pasta has absorbed most of the liquid and is cooked to your desired tenderness, about 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep pasta from sticking. If you see the garlic cloves at the end of cooking, go ahead and remove the cloves.
Just as the pasta is finishing cooking, add spinach in handfuls, stirring with each handful so that the spinach can mix with the hot pasta and begin to wilt. Remove pot from heat.
Add grated romano cheese and cream. Stir until evenly distributed and sauce becomes creamy.
Salt and pepper to taste.
*I've given amounts for the added vegetables, but really, you can adjust the amount you use to your taste. I like to add as much as possible to not only bulk up the meal, but help insure we're getting plenty of vegetables in our meal. Do insure, however, that you stick with the pasta and water ratio. You need enough to both cook the pasta and then have some residual liquid to help create the "sauce."
*I used petite artichoke hearts. If yours are larger, you might want to halve or quarter them. Don't skip the rinsing process, it will help reduce the brininess. I originally wanted to use frozen artichoke hearts to eliminate any briny issues, but could not locate them anywhere. Also, I only used about 2 cups of artichokes, but I would probably double that next time.
*You can use other types of pasta, but I happen to love this shape. Elbow, penne, fusilli and rotini are also good choices. Check the box for guidelines on cooking time.
*You can also add shredded cooked chicken in to bulk up the meal. I like to add it in before the spinach so it has time to heat up.
*I used baby portobello mushrooms. White button or cremini mushrooms are also fine. My pack was a 20 ounce family pack. If your mushrooms are sold in 8 or 16 ounce containers, just buy enough for 16 ounces or adjust the amount to your preference.
*I like to season this dish at the end. The romano cheese adds saltiness, so I like to check after adding the cheese to insure I don't over season.
*I also like to add just a sprinkling of red pepper flakes to my own serving for a little kick.
*This makes a large batch of pasta. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Add a little water to the dish to help create moisture when reheating.
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