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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Pasta with Goat Cheese, Lemon and Asparagus

It is that time of year when our grocery store has asparagus displays placed on the end of every aisle and it seems like every cooking magazine and food blog has an article about asparagus. Ok, I know this is like a month ago for most of you, but here in Alaska we are just catching up. I originally saw this in Bon Appetit and then Smitten Kitchen posted about it, so I figured it must be pretty good. I made this one at home once and then again in this kitchen...

while visiting the Rusty Blackbird crew out at Yukon Flats. Who says you can't have a Gourmet meal in the wilderness? This recipe feeds a hungry crew of four in less than 15 minutes, or two lazy beer drinkers at home in less than 30 minutes!
I didn't have a grater out in the field, so I just cut off big chunks of lemon zest, squeezed them and threw them in the pot, that way we could see them and pick them out before eating.

Pasta with Goat Cheese, Lemon and Asparagus
adapted from Bon Appetit
1 pound rotini, (or spaghetti if that is all you have!)
1 pound slender asparagus spears, (or hack them up with a dull knife in the field)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel (or large chunks with dull knife)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon plus sprigs for garnish
1 5- to 5 1/2-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add asparagus and cook until pasta is tender but still firm to bite, about 3 minutes longer.
Combine olive oil, lemon peel, and chopped tarragon in large bowl. Coarsely crumble in goat cheese.
Drain pasta and asparagus, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add hot pasta, asparagus, and 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid to bowl with cheese mixture. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to shallow platter or a camp plate. Garnish with tarragon sprigs.

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