Saturday, February 25, 2012

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

Adapted from Bon Appetit
As it turns out, goat cheese makes a really great quick, creamy pasta sauce. And whether you blanche your pasta with asparagus or you swap in string beans, this comes together quickly. I added a can of black olives for interest, texture and more flavor.
Serves 6
The Ingredients.
1 pound spiral-shaped pasta

1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon plus more for garnish
 (I had to use dried)
5- to 5 1/2-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese (the pre-crumbled stuff will not melt as well and the only log I could find was 4 oz)
1 can black olives, drained (pitted Kalamata olives would be even better)
Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)
The Directions.
Cook pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until it is almost tender, or about three minutes shy of what the package suggests. Add asparagus and cook until firm-tender, another three minutes. Drain pasta and asparagus together, reserving one cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, combine olive oil, lemon peel, tarragon and cheese in a large bowl, breaking up the goat cheese as you put it in. Add hot pasta and asparagus to bowl, along with a couple splashes of the pasta water. Toss until smoothly combined, adding more pasta water if needed. Season generously with salt and pepper, add olives and lemon juice if you feel it needs a little extra kick.
The Verdict.
This was lovely. Adding the asparagus to the pasta to cook was pure genius! And of course, lemon adds a brightness to everything. So, yes, this was a deliciously satisfying meal. A friend told me the recipe has been around for a while, but I just found it ... on Pinterest!

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