California Central Coast Recipes
Dandelion Greens with Toasted Walnuts and Pasta
Dandelion Greens that are tender and have been organically grown offer another base for a delicious very inexpensive pasta dinner. If you like Beet greens or Swiss Chard pastas, you'll like Dandelion greens. The trick to using these as a base, is to parboil the greens for two to three minutes prior to sauteing them. Then if you use a flavorful onion with them, and toasted walnuts they'll be transformed into a dinner that you'll be proud of!
Preparation time: 15 minutesCooking time: 15 minutes
1 pound dandelion greens , throughly washed and drained
Salt to taste plus extra for water
1/2 cup walnuts , coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cups Extra-virgin Olive oil
1 cup White onion , peeled and thinly sliced
1 heaping-teaspoon Grated Lemon Zest
4 medium cloves Garlic , chopped
1/2 cup Dry white wine
1/4 teaspoons freshly cracked Black pepper
1/2 pound Mafaldine Pasta or other wide pasta
1 Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2 When oven is up to heat, place a baking sheet with the walnuts on the top rack. Toast for 5- 10 minutes. Do not let nuts burn. Remove from oven and set aside.
3 Bring several quarts of water to boiling in a large stockpot.
4 Trim and discard the thickest stems from the dandelion greens.
5 Slice the wet leaves crosswise into half inch-wide strips. Reserve 1/2 cup of chopped leaves for garnish.
6 Add a tablespoon or so of salt to the boiling water. Stir and then add the rest of the dandelion greens to the boiling water for two to three minutes.
7 Drain the greens and set aside.
8 Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the onion separating the ring segments into individual strands. Saute until softened and lightly golden.
9 Add the garlic and saute until fragrant and lightly golden. De-glaze the mixture with the white wine.
10 Add the cooked dandelion greens to the onion mixture. Stir well to coat with olive oil. You may need to add additional olive oil. Continue to cook the greens until tender- three to five minutes
11 Add the salt to taste and the freshly cracked black pepper.
12 Add the lemon zest and cook for a half minute or so to release the lemon fragrance and oils.
13 In the meantime, in a separate pasta pot, bring water to boiling over high heat.
14 Add in salt, give a stir then add in pasta. Cook until al dente, or as directed on pasta package and stir occasionally.
15 When pasta is done, drain. Add pasta to stockpot with dandelion mixture. Toss well to distribute thoroughly. Correct seasoning.
16 Portion out dandelion greens pasta onto individual plates. Sprinkle toasted walnuts and the reserved uncooked dandelion leaves over top of pasta and serve to guests.
17 You can offer grated Parmesan cheese to guests at the table, however the Parmesan will overpower the lemon zest and walnuts.
This is a rustic country style meal, A young Sauvignon Blanc or Fume Blanc will pair well with this pasta. For a little more daring red selection, try a simple Sangiovese.