I am fairly adventurous when it comes to cooking with new ingredients and trying new foods, though I am by no means a connoisseur of fine foods (yet). However, previous to trying out this recipe, my only experience with goat products is a vague memory of my mom buying goats milk at a farm back in New Hampshire (I'm assuming this means I drank it at some point?) and eating goat meat during a six week trip to Uganda. Most of that trip I tried to opt for chicken as the question, "Would you like chicken or meat?" always left me with doubts as to the ambiguous origins of the "meat."
That said, I opted to try something new when I was planning my weekly menu and found this recipe at Smitten Kitchen, which also gave me the chance to use the beautiful asparagus I bought at the farmer's market on Friday!
I do have to confess that I'm still not sure how I feel about this recipe. I love the combination of the lemon juice and basil, and the creamy taste without the richness of an Alfredo sauce. Somehow, I just keep picturing those goats. . .
Goat Cheese Pasta with Asparagus and lemon
1 lb. spiral pasta
1 lb. asparagus cut into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh chopped basil (the original recipe calls for tarragon, which I did not have on hand)
5- 5 1/2 ounce log fresh, soft goat cheese (not the pre-crumbled variety, which I'm told will not melt as easily)
1 Tblsp. finely grated lemon peel
fresh lemon juice to taste
Begin by cooking your pasta in a large pot of water. When Pasta is roughly 3 minutes from being done, add the asparagus and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Asparagus should still be firm. Drain pasta and asparagus together, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.
While the pasta is cooking, mix together the olive oil, basil (or tarragon), and goat cheese, and lemon peel. After you have drained the pasta and asparagus, add to the other ingredients. Mix together, adding reserved water as needed, until the cheese is completely melted and coats the pasta. Season with salt and pepper as well as lemon juice to taste.