Solomon and Celia are usually pretty busy in the evenings with homework and sports, but dinnertime is family time, and when I cook I try to lure them into the kitchen. Celia in particular loves pasta, especially when it has a light or creamy sauce rather than tomato sauce. When I was making this recipe for the first time, I asked Celia to taste the sauce to tell me if she liked it or thought it needed anything to make it saltier, sweeter or tangier. She also tasted the pasta to see if it was fully cooked (soft with just a little bite, or al dente). When I served the meal, she was so eager to eat the pasta, especially because she took part in its creation.

Whether or not your kids have time to cook with you, have you tried piquing their interest in the meal before you serve it by asking them to taste, smell and peek at it? Kids feel important when we solicit their opinions and it invests them not only in the process, but also in the meal itself.

During dinner, I ask the kids for feedback on what we’re eating, what they liked or didn’t like, what they would do differently next time, and I take notes right on the recipe. They also like to help me give dishes fun or silly new names.

This creamy farfalle recipe is sure to be a kid pleaser, although it’s also sophisticated enough to serve to adults at a dinner party. I hope you will let me know what your family thinks.

What ways have you found to invest your kids in cooking and eating the healthy foods you create in your kitchen?

Recipe: Farfalle with Artichoke Hearts, Baby Spinach and Lemon Ricotta

  • Prep Time: 5 min(s)
  • Cook Time: 25 min(s)
  • Total Time: 30 min(s)
  • Servings: 8

This noodle dish is a kid-pleaser that is sophisticated enough to serve to adults at a dinner party.


    • 16 oz. farfalle noodles
    • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 shallot, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp. dried oregano
    • 14 oz. canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
    • 1/2 lemon, juice only, about 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. zest
    • 6 oz. baby spinach
    • 1 cup nonfat ricotta cheese
    • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/8 tsp. black pepper


    • Cook the pasta in salted water until it is al dente. When it is almost done, scoop out 1/2 cup of the cooking water and set it aside.
    • Once the pasta goes into the water, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the shallots and sauté them until they are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the oregano, artichoke hearts, and lemon juice, and cook them for about 2 minutes until the artichokes are heated through. Stir in the spinach, and cover and cook it until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.
    • Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the ricotta, the reserved pasta cooking water, the lemon-zest, and salt and pepper until it is creamy. Pour the sauce over the warm pasta and serve it immediately.

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6 Responses to “Farfalle with Artichoke Hearts, Baby Spinach and Lemon Ricotta”

  1. Kat

    I sometimes read off recipes and ask my son his opinion of them when I’m doing meal planning. This recipes looks yummy and I have some ricotta I need to use up so I’m looking forward to trying it. Thanks!

  2. Beau

    Marvelous – I have a lemon basil pasta that I love, this looks like a good variation