Saturday, August 16, 2008
I am so glad the carb and pasta bashing seems to have faded a little. As a food lover, I couldn't go more than a couple of days without eating it; as a cook, I couldn't think of anything faster or easier to whip up on the nights I'm too tired to cook but too mentally worn to read a take out menu (not to mention phoning in the order to have someone who inevitably speaks every language BUT English answer.)
This pasta recipe was inspired by the world famous Murray's Cheese Shop. After stopping there one night after work and scooping up some of their fresh homemade pasta and a velvety log of goat cheese, I created it with what I had in my fridge. I probably make it once a week and it yields the only leftovers that are guaranteed to exit my refrigerator in less than 24 hours. If you can't get fresh pasta from Murray's or an Italian market, you could sub the fresh kind in regular grocery stores (I think Bertolli makes a good one) or even use dried. If you are using fresh, watch it carefully and remove it after just a couple of minutes or else you'll have flacid, limp pasta and a dissapointing consistency to the dish. As the gentile gay neighbors said in American Beauty - "You just drop it in the water and it's done!"
1 (16 oz) package fresh spiral pasta (can sub bow ties or penne)
zest of one lemon
1 bunch fresh basil, rinsed and stems removed
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and halved PLUS three tablespoons of the oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
pinch red pepper flakes
1 (4.5 oz) log fresh goat cheese (I prefer Vermont Butter and Cheese brand)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
extra virgin olive oil, optional
Prepare the pasta according to package directions, being careful not to overcook. Drain and place into a large serving bowl. Add the sundried tomatoes, sundried tomato oil, lemon zest, pepper flakes, sea salt, and basil and toss well.
Carefully break up the goat cheese into fat crumbles and add to the pasta with the pine nuts. Gently toss together (overtossing will cause the goat cheese to disappear into the pasta rather than stay in chunks which I prefer.)
Serve immediately, with a small splash of extra virgin olive oil drizzled over the top, if desired.