I love pasta. SP loves pasta. Baby Girl loves pasta. That said, we eat pasta at least once a week in this house. I'm always on the lookout for new recipes and after seeing various versions of this Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta I decided to go to the source and see what we were missing.
This came together so quickly Baby Girl and I were scrambling the finish mixing the cheese and seasonings before the pasta and asparagus finished cooking. It took some tweaking to get the seasonings right - this needed a generous amount of salt and pepper to bring out all the flavors, plus a healthy dose of lemon juice. The pasta water really helped thin out the sauce and make it extra creamy. I ended up adding a full 8-oz log of goat cheese because, well, I'd already opened the package. I also added a fried egg to my lunch the next day - heavenly. So delicious and creamy, with a nice bite from the goat cheese and zing of the lemon juice. It tickles me that Baby Girl enjoys things like goat cheese - she was helping me crumble the cheese and then licked her fingers to get every last bit off.
A note about the above photo - Baby Girl has seen me take pictures of my food since I started cooking and blogging again after she was born. During the months when I'm able to take advantage of natural light I go out on the porch to take my photos. The night we made this, Baby Girl insisted on bringing her own bowl outside so I could photograph her portion. My heart melted.
What a perfect, easy weeknight meal. I've seen people sub spinach for the asparagus but I'm a sucker for those spears.
Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta
As seen on Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Bon Appetit
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 zest
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon, thyme or basil) plus more for garnish
1 8-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese (the pre-crumbled stuff will not melt as well)
Salt and pepper
Fresh lemon juice to taste
Cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted water. Three minutes before the pasta is done (according to the package directions) add the asparagus and cook until firm-tender. Drain both pasta and asparagus together, reserving one cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, thyme (or herb of choice) and goat cheese in a large bowl, breaking up the goat cheese as you put it in. Add the hot pasta and asparagus to the bowl, along with some of the pasta water. Toss until combined, adding more pasta water if needed. Taste and season generously with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Keep adjusting the seasonings, if needed. Serve hot or room temperature.