Sometimes you sit down to a meal and after one bite, your heart is filled with a rush of sweet memories from the first time you ate the meal. Sweet memories of the person who cooked for you and shared their table and home with you. That is what happened while I was eating this simple penne pasta with dandelion greens. I thought about the Soler family who opened their home to Craig and I a couple of springs ago. Italian hospitality and love filled their home and we felt so warm, comfortable, and welcomed.
So often I think I need to prepare a fancy meal or have a fancy home before I can invite friends over. But remembering the friendship of the Soler family I realize even a simple dish of penne pasta with dandelions is more than enough because it isn’t the formal that welcomes others, it is the simpleness of friendship and love that makes people welcome in your home.
This penne pasta with dandelion greens can’t get more simpler. I used fresh dandelion leaves that I picked up at my local farmer’s stand. But you can pick your own dandelion leaves from your yard or in the wild, just make sure they have NOT been sprayed with weed killer. You will be wilting the leaves for the pasta, boiling them first for a couple of minutes and then sauteing them in olive oil. If you are a little hesitant, I will let you know the dandelion leaves tasted a bit like cooked spinach, and are healthy for you too. I have also just served them in a simple lettuce salad, torn and tossed in with the other greens.
Let’s get to our simple penne pasta dish and remember friends and friendship with each bite.
- 1 bunch dandelion leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 8 oz penne pasta
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 1½ tsp salt (divided)
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 2 TBS olive oil
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- Wash and dry the dandelion leaves, cut into 1 inch pieces.
- Mince garlic cloves.
- Bring a pot of water to boil (enough for your pasta), add dandelion leaves and boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove leaves.
- Add ½ tsp salt to water and cook penne pasta according to pkg directions minus 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile warm olive oil in a large sauce pan, add minced garlic and boiled dandelion leaves.
- Saute for 5 to 10 minutes while penne pasta cooks.
- Drain pasta and add to the garlic and dandelion.
- Add the ricotta cheese and about ½ to 1 cup of pasta water.
- Stir everything together and cook until pasta is finished and ricotta is creamy coating the pasta.
- Sprinkle in salt and pepper, add more or less to taste.
- Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.
What foods remind you of friends and their welcoming home?