Sunday, April 1, 2012

Recipe: Rotini and Asparagus Tossed with Goat Cheese, Lemon, and Herbs

I came across a recipe for pasta with asparagus, goat cheese, and lemon a few months ago and took a look at it again this weekend. It called for only a handful of ingredients and just a few minutes of my time and it sounded like a delicious mix: perfect for a night at home on my own. The rich, tangy goat cheese, blended with lemon zest and seasonings, melts perfectly to coat the pasta and crispy asparagus—it's the perfect dish for a cool spring day or warm summer evening.

Not gonna lie...I totally forgot to use my nice solid white pasta bowl for the picture. Oh well.

Serves: 4-6
Prep. time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Difficulty: Easy


  • 1 lb. rotini (or other short pasta —farfalle, gemelli, or penne would work well)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus spears, washed, trimmed, and cut into 1-2 inch long pieces
  • Approx. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Approx. 5-8 oz. soft fresh goat cheese (by the log of cheese rather than crumbles for better melting)
  • 1 tbsp. dried sage
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, if desired

Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the box instructions (approx. 7-10 minutes). During the last few minutes that the pasta is cooking, toss in the asparagus pieces so they cook too. In the meantime, add the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, goat cheese (pull it into pieces as you add it), sage, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to a large bowl and stir to combine. Once the pasta and asparagus have cooked, drain them, reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water, and toss the mixture in the bowl with the goat cheese mixture, adding the pasta water too. Toss until the goat cheese has even coated the pasta and asparagus. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, if desired.

This dish is fresh, creamy, and very flavorful. The goat cheese and lemon offer tangy flavors, while the salt and sage cut through the tang and create a deeper, richer flavor. To make this meal a little more well-rounded, served with grilled or seared chicken that's been seasoned with salt, pepper, and dried lemon peel.

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