Bucatini with Wilted Dandelion Greens and Anchovy Sauce

Bucatini with Wilted Dandelion Greens and Anchovy Sauce might not be a pasta dish you eat all the time, but I think you should give this one a go at least once. Since it’s delicious, I’m sure it will lead to a more frequent rotation for your dinnertime.

Bucatini with Wilted Dandelion Greens and Anchovy Sauce is a dish to write home about! The flavors are fab in this unique pasta dish!

The bitter truth

When I was young my parents would fix and eat dandelion greens. As a kid I didn’t eat them, not much liking their bitter taste. I only thought twice about the fact we were having weeds for dinner when my friends were over and would question some of the meal choices going on in our kitchen. Growing up in a traditional Italian household does that sometimes.

Instead of meals like casseroles or sloppy Joe’s (reserved for dinner every now and then), my family would serve things like octopus, dandelion greens, squash blossoms, and lentils. These things could seem strange to others, especially all those years ago.

I loved those healthy and tasty meals – with the exception of the dandelion greens! Now, I’m happy to see many of the familiar dishes I ate growing up are currently recognized as being part of a healthy Mediterranean diet.

Since it’s springtime and dandelion greens are in full force, I decided to try Bucatini with Wilted Dandelion Greens and Anchovy Sauce.

Dandelion greens make the meal for Bucatini with Wilted Dandelion Greens and Anchovy Sauce

Get weeding

According to my subject matter expert (my mom) the trick to cooking dandelion greens is to first blanch them before you sauté them. This helps remove the overwhelming bitterness of the greens.

Keep in mind that these greens will shrink a lot when you cook them, much like spinach does. The anchovy-garlic sauce in this pasta dish balances the slightly bitter greens. The garlic isn’t too strong since it’s roasted, and the anchovies add nice saltiness to the dish.

You should give these weeds a try! The combination of flavors in Bucatini with Wilted Dandelion Greens and Anchovy Sauce is a delight!

Recipe for Bucatini with Wilted Dandelion Greens and Anchovy Sauce
Serves 4


  • 8 ounces bucatini, cooked according to package directions (reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water when finished)
  • 1 large bunch dandelion greens
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2, 2-ounce tins of canned anchovy fillets
  • 4 cloves garlic (mince one of the cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Roast 3 cloves of garlic by placing the unpeeled cloves in a small pan and drizzling them with a bit of olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  3. When the garlic is finished roasting, squeeze them out of their skins and into a small bowl along with the drained anchovy fillets and 1 teaspoon of the anchovy oil. Mash the garlic and anchovies together to form a paste. Set aside.
  4. Cook the bucatini according to the package directions, and drain when finished. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  5. During the second half of cooking the pasta, wash and trim the ends from the dandelion greens. Blanch them in boiling water for just about 3-4 minutes, until the dandelions turn bright green. Immediately rinse them under cold running water for a minute. Drain them in a colander and squeeze out any remaining moisture.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the dandelion greens and cook for about a minute. Add the minced garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and mix well. Add the anchovy paste to the mixture, along with the cooked pasta and a bit of the pasta water (add 1/4 cup at a time). Mix so everything is well coated and the water has evaporated.
  7. Add about 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese to the mixture and stir it again.
  8. Add the mixture to a large serving bowl and serve warm.
Serves 4



  1. says

    Oh, wow! My next post will be very much like this, it’s what I ate for lunch yesterday – absolutely love dandelion greens and pasta. Bitter works for me 😉
    My mama would take the wild dandelion greens and stew them in olive oil for hours and hours (I think she used that method for lots of things…)
    The kids were terrified of them as you can imagine; they were dark, dark green and scarily slimy looking. My dad happily shoveled them in like comfort food.
    I’m pleased to find your site!

    • Patricia says

      Hi Karen – Yes! When I was young and my friends would come to my house, they were always “surprised” by some of the things we ate! Good stuff, though! Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. says

    You know, I’ve always been curious about dancion greens. I see them pop up in my local grocery store every so often and I’ve been tempted to try them, but didn’t really know what to do with them. I’m excited to give your recipe a try!!

  3. says

    I’m going to be on the lookout for dandelion greens. A friend of my MIL’s brought them over for dinner as a side dish the other night and I thought they were delicious! Your recipe looks fabulous too! I’m convinced…I need to start cooking with these!

    • Patricia says

      Yes! Give that a go, Debra. As a kid – not my favorite thing. Now? Definitely a great veggie!

  4. says

    You and I must have had a very similar upbringing! I never thought anything about eating weeds, either! In fact, my mother would go out with a knife in Michigan and get the wild dandelion in places away from roads and human traffic. I love dandelion mixed with cabbage, spinach and beans in what we call “minestra”.

    My dad (actually both of my parents) would love this dish, I’m sure of it. I’m still not a fan of anchovies, but I think I’ll try this when they visit next time. Thanks for the recipe, Patricia!

    • Patricia says

      Mine did the same, Christina! In fact, sometimes when my mom visits, she’ll see some fruit or veggie growing somewhere & ask me to stop to check it out! Your minestra sounds really good! Let me know if you try this dish for your folks (I’m an anchovy lover)!

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