Monday, January 21, 2008

No-Cook Cheesy Pasta Sauce

I made this number last night.  You only need four major ingredients besides salt, pepper, water, butter & olive oil.
Whole Wheat Pasta with Goat Cheese, Mushrooms and Roasted Asparagus
Serves 8
1 lb whole wheat corkscrew pasta (I don't recommend "stringy" pasta; chunky & textured works best)
1 lb fresh asparagus
5 oz goat cheese (it's normally sold in 5 oz packages)
4 oz fresh Green Giant mixed gourmet mushrooms, or button mushrooms, roughly chopped (the gourmet mix was on sale yesterday)
Olive Oil
1 Tbsp butter (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Red pepper flakes (optional)
Heat oven 450 degrees.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
On a rimmed baking sheet, toss trimmed asparagus with a touch of olive oil and salt and pepper.  If you have them on hand, add some red pepper flakes for heat.  Roast the asparagus in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until tender, tossing once during cooking.
Add a drop of olive oil to a skillet.  Add the mushrooms and sautee over medium heat until caramel colored.  If your pan is too dry, add a touch of water or chicken stock.  Season with salt and pepper after the mushrooms are cooked.  Salted mushrooms won't brown properly.
Crumble the goat cheese into a bowl.  Add a few bits (1 Tbsp total) of cold butter (optional).
Remove asparagus and chop into 1-2 inch pieces.
Boil pasta in salted water until tender.  When pasta is cooked, add a ladle of the salty pasta water to the cheese and butter.  Whisk until smooth.  Reserve a cup of pasta water and set aside.  Drain the pasta and return to the pot.  Add the cheese sauce, mushrooms & asparagus, and toss to combine.  If the sauce is too thick, add a little more of the reserved pasta water to fully coat the mix.
Season with salt and pepper (and red pepper flake) to taste.  Serve and enjoy!
Note:  The cooking water from pasta is awesome for sauces - it's full of starch and salt which adds thickness and flavor.  Goat cheese is smooth, milky, tangy and lower in fat and calories than most cheeses.  It's good shit.
So there's that,

No comments: