Lemon and Date Penne

I have been working way too many hours lately.  Twelve of the last 14 days.  I was so glad that I finished early today and had a chance to make something new for dinner.  This is a dish I had looked at several times but just never got around to it.  The ingredients intrigued me, a combination I’d never tried.  I did my usual “ad lib” portion of changes by adding things I thought would compliment the dish.  It also comes together quickly, making it perfect for a workday dinner.

I was a hit!  My husband literally wagged his head as he ate and made noises of delight.  My teenage liked it as well and said to make it again.  It is pretty tasty.  Something nice to end a long week.  I hope you give it a try.

You’ll need:

2 cup dried pitted dates, halved or quartered

1 1/2 cups port

13 oz box of multi-grain penne or your favorite pasta

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

zest of one large lemon

juice for 1/2 of that lemon

1/4 cup finely chopped basil or 2 spoonfuls of basil slurry (see enjoy fresh basil ’til next season here)

5-8 oz of fresh spinach leaves, chopped or whole

1 pkg of chopped grilled chicken (see grilled chicken), defrosted and warmed up

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

salt and pepper to taste

Place cut up dates in a small sauce pan.  Add port.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain the dates, reserving the port in a small mixing bowl.  Set both aside to cool.

While dates simmer, put a large pot of water on to boil.  Add salt, if desired.  Cook pasta until al dente.  Drain and rinse with cool water.  Return to pot.

To reserved  port, add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and basil.  Mix well.

To pasta, add drained dates, spinach, walnuts, and warmed chicken.  Pour port mixture over this and toss well.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Lemon and Date Penne

  1. Dates are an ingredients that have surprised me lately. I’ve always thought of them as something to add sweetness to a dessert. Only in the last few months have I seen them added to more savory dishes, such as dates wrapped in prosciutto. I find this recipe intriguing, yet I’m still a bit skeptical about combining dates, basil, and pasta. However, despite my skepticism, I’m willing to give it a try! I’m bookmarking this recipe!

    • My initial attitude was the same, but my family has a great approach to new dishes. If it doesn’t taste good enough to eat, we know where to order pizza!
      I hope you do try it. I wasn’t exaggerating about my husband’s reaction…he loved it.

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