Manageable Monday Meal: Pasta with Asparagus & Goat Cheese

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I am a HUGE fan of goat cheese—okay, well cheese in general, but especially goat cheese. Any time I see a recipe that includes it as an ingredient, I have to earmark it to make at some point. I found this one on Pinterest, and since it looked easy and it had been awhile since I had posted a new Manageable Monday Meal, I thought I would try this one out.

I kid you not: this recipe is about as quick and easy as it gets, though it will appear that you spent awhile on it. It’s loaded with flavor as well – however, I would recommend erring on the conservative side with the lemon zest and juice, and then adding more if you feel the dish needs it. You don’t want to go overboard right from the get-go because you can’t remove too much flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. of rigatoni pasta (I used whole wheat to make it a little “healthier”)
  • 1 lb. of asparagus, trimmed and then cut into 1- 1½ inch pieces
  • ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest (try using half the amount and then adding more if needed)
  • 2 Tsp. chopped fresh tarragon plus more for garnish (I didn’t have any on-hand so I went without)
  • 5- to 5½ oz. log of soft fresh goat cheese (use the log instead of pre-crumbled; it will melt better)
  • Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)

Directions

Cook the pasta until about 3 minutes shy of done, then add the asparagus and cook 2 – 3 minutes until slightly tender. Drain the pasta and asparagus, reserving one cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, combine the olive oil, lemon zest, cheese (and tarragon, if you have it) in a large bowl, mixing gently until the goat cheese is well blended.

Add the pasta and asparagus to the bowl, as well as a small amount of the reserved pasta water. Toss until well combined (add more pasta water if needed).

Season generously with salt and pepper, and add a sprinkle of lemon juice if you want to make it even more flavorful.

It’s that simple! Enjoy!

R

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