This is a ‘kitchen sink’ type of pasta recipe with salami, spinach, black olives, Ricotta Salata, and Parmesan cheese dressed lightly with lemon and olive oil. I woke one morning with the dream of it clinging to my lips. Yep. While you might dream of prince charming, riches, or of lying on the beach with your toes in the sand I dream of salami and black olives. And I’m a firm believer in following your dreams.
Every bite of this bountiful pasta is brimming with a deliciousness for which there is no escape. Salami and black olives are finger foods for me but when you add them to the ultimate comfort food – pasta – something amazing happens. I swear I could eat this every day. For the rest of my life.
The lemon is barely distinguishable but freshens up the flavors so their brighter. For a stronger lemon taste grate some of the peel in or add the juice of a second lemon to taste. If you have fresh basil on hand (I didn’t) toss some in or sprinkle over top. The reserved pasta water is crucial to the dish. Ricotta Salata and Parmesan are firm, dry cheeses that won’t melt much. Along with the lemon juice and olive oil the pasta water is needed to make up the sauce. Without it the pasta will be extremely dry.
The best way to grate the Ricotta Salata and Parmesan for this is with a microplane. It will cause the little specks of cheese to stick in every little nook and cranny they possibly can and work their way right into the middles of the olives and penne. Totally delectable.