Fine Pasta Lunch in Less than 30 Minutes

Most packaged dry pastas cook in about 12 minutes or less. Last week I was able to do a delicious pasta lunch from scratch very quickly.


  • 170 g Penne pasta from La Dolda (or any good short pasta)
  • chopped fresh Upland Cress (or any leafy green vegetable)
  • homemade dried breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • olive oil
  • chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 small tomato, roughly chopped


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt to taste. Pour the Penne into the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, add 2-3 tbsp. of olive oil to a skillet or sauté pan. Toast the breadcrumbs on moderate heat, add the green vegetable and cook until wilted, and add the tomatoes and cook until they are a little soft and juicy.
  3. Drain the pasta, saving 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta cooking water to help make a sauce.
  4. Add the pasta to the sauté pan with the vegetables, plus some of the pasta water, cooking for 1-2 minutes over medium heat.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste (you should not need much). Stir all together, and add chili flakes if desired.
  6. Toss with Parmesan or Pecorino cheese. I always add some flavorful olive oil on top.

Mangia bene!

The last step has nothing to do with the recipe, but it enhanced the meal for me. If you have a friend (as we do) who gave you an amazing orchid plant two years ago, and if your wife has brought it back to flowering again (with both her green thumbs), walk over to it, take a photo, and SMILE!

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