So yeah. I haven’t been here in a while. Life is a strange thing that often gets in the way of a lot of other things. We went on a West Coast vacation in July, Gemma started preschool in August, I started teaching two Zumba classes a week at our Y, Jake has worked on two Mark Wahlberg movies and is now back on the final season of Breaking Bad, there were debates and an election that merited wine-filled viewing (and victory!) parties, and I’ve been doing freelance language work while working steadily on getting my freelance translation business up and running. These are all good and happy things, but it’s been a busy few months chez nous. The blog (as well as my creativity in the kitchen) has definitely suffered, but I’m back. Because of Jake’s long hours, I’m back to working on dishes that can be put together in advance and popped in the oven or slow cooker when the time is right. I’ve made the dish that follows several times in the past few months, and I haven’t gotten tired of it! I usually make it with chopped spinach, but I didn’t have any the other night. I did, however, have a beautiful bunch of asparagus, so into the mix it went. Remember: this whole thing can be put together well in advance (I think I’ve even done it the day before) and refrigerated until it’s time to get it in the oven!
Pasta with Goat Cheese, Asparagus, and Sun Dried Tomatoes
adapted from Pink Parsley
- 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces (or 1 bag/12 oz baby spinach finely chopped)
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- olive oil
- 1.5-2 ounces sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
- 1 lb pasta shapes, such as rotini or medium shells
- 1 small log (4-5 ounces) of goat cheese
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 oz finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 cup)
*Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
*Toss the asparagus with 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper.
*Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet, and roast for 6 minutes.
*Cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water, until just shy of al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
*Soften the goat cheese in a large bowl (microwave for 30 seconds if needed) and season with salt and pepper
*Stir in the roasted asparagus until it is all incorporated. If you’re using spinach, use the heat from the cheese to wilt the greens.
*Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, and transfer the pasta to the cheese mixture.
*Mix the pasta with the cheese until melted.
*Add the cooking water, just a bit at a time, until the sauce has thinned, but it’s not watery.
*Stir in the sun dried tomatoes, and check seasonings.
*Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish, add the pasta mixture, then top with the grated Parmesan.
*Bake 20 minutes, until the pasta is golden and bubbly.
This is one of our new go-to meals. The goat cheese feels decadent without adding the unwanted fat and calories of a cream sauce, and you can feel good about yourself with all of the veggies that are stuffed in there. I plan on trying it with artichoke hearts in the near future!