If you’re a fan of goat cheese, you will LOVE this pasta. Goat cheese is milder and softer than feta, but is still “crumble-able.” It just melts in your mouth and has this tangy flavor that is just fantastic.
While I was standing at the deli counter yesterday looking at the packaged cheeses and eyeing the store brand of goat cheese, which was considerably cheaper than the others, an elderly woman with a German accent came up beside me.
“No, you don’t want that cheese,” she said, “I bought some a few weeks ago and it just had a terrible flavor. Try this kind instead.”
The log of cheese she handed me was more than I needed, but had a brand name I couldn’t pronounce – which meant it must be good, right? And after looking at my options for a while, I decided that since I wasn’t buying meat for this meal, I could splurge on the cheese. And it was well worth it! I highly recommend purchasing a good goat cheese, since it really is the star of this dish and there are so few other ingredients (and no meat, remember? Just think of how much you’re saving…)
I also realize (now, after looking everywhere for it last night) that asparagus might be difficult to come by at this time of year. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you prefer. Or you can leave them out altogether – JW said he actually would have preferred the asparagus separate from the pasta. But that’s JW, and he can be a bit anal different in his food preferences. I actually used about half the amount of asparagus called for in the recipe, and it was plenty for me.
I do recommend you let whoever is eating this know that it is not fettuccine alfredo. It tastes a bit similar because it’s creamy and cheesy, but it has a distinct goat cheese flavor that makes a bit more sense when you know what it is This would be a great dish if you’re having “foodies” (especially vegetarians) over for dinner, or make the pasta sans vegetables as a gourmet side to a delicious steak, prime rib, whatever. Mmmm…
Many thanks to my friend Elizabeth at Freezer Gourmet for this dish! Be sure to pay a visit to her blog and check out her other recipes when you have some time. She has quite a variety of easy-to-prepare, and delicious, meals. I have several bookmarked, so I’m sure you’ll see her influence again!
- 1-2 bunches asparagus (1-2 pounds total), tough ends removed
- 4 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
- 12 ounces cavatappi or other short pasta
- 1 small log soft goat cheese (5 ounces), crumbled
- 2-3 Tbsp snipped fresh chives, for garnish (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese, remaining 3 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 cup pasta water. Season with salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add goat-cheese mixture and asparagus to pasta; toss to combine, adding more pasta water if necessary for sauce to coat pasta. Serve pasta garnished with chives, if desired.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for pasta. Place asparagus on a large rimmed baking sheet; dot with 1 tablespoon butter, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, tossing occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes; cut into 2-inch lengths.
While asparagus is roasting, generously salt boiling water. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Set aside 1 1/2 cups pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.