Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Creamy Chevre Pasta with Spinach and Mushroom

I usually purchase large logs of goat cheese when it's on sale, since I always think there are so many things I want to make with it. I make the one dish, then forget about the leftover chevre as it slowly rots away in my refrigerator. Not this week, though. I didn't use all of it for my white pizza and had quite a bit left, so I thought I'd continue what I started and make this a white album kinda week. 
This dish comes together in no time, and the 'sauce' that is made using soft goat cheese couldn't be any easier. I'm not really a fan of pasta dishes that use goat cheese as a primary ingredient and simply mix hunks of it into the warm pasta. The resulting consistency is very similar to drying paste, and the pasta sticks to itself like mad. Simply reserving about a cup or so of the pasta water and slowly adding it to the cheese until it becomes the consistency you're looking for, works amazingly well. 

You can always use any pasta you like, but I strongly recommend using a cavatappi here. The ridges and hollow center give the sauce a place to go, and the spinach gets tangled into the curly shape of the pasta. It creates a different texture than a normal flat pasta that really accentuates the ingredients.


12 oz cavatappi pasta
10 oz fresh spinach
1 lb cremini and/or white mushrooms, quartered
1 leek, cleaned well with white and pale green parts sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
6 - 8 oz chevre (soft goat cheese)
1 1/2 cup reserved pasta water 
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated

Fill a large pot with cold water and place it on the stove over high heat and bring to a boil. You can add a tablespoon or two of salt at any time before you add the pasta. While you're waiting for it to boil, prep the vegetables. Add a glug of oil to a large saute pan over medium heat and begin cooking the mushrooms and leeks. Once the mushrooms have released all their liquid and start to sizzle again in the pan, add the sliced garlic. Stir for about 30 seconds, then add the spinach. Let cook till it comes to about this point, (see photo below) then turn off the heat.
You don't want to over cook the spinach since it will continue to cook after the heat has been turned off, and even more once the hot pasta is added. 

By this point your water should be boiling, and you can add the pasta. Cook per brand's instructions for very al dente. When the pasta is nearly finished, remove 1 1/2 of pasta water and set aside. 

Crumble the goat cheese into a medium glass bowl. Add a little of the hot pasta water, 1/2 cup at first, then just a drizzle, stirring all the while till it becomes a consistency you like. Keep in mind, it should be a little thin since you want it to evenly coat the pasta, and it will thicken slightly as it cools. 

Add the drained pasta over the cooked spinach and mushrooms. Pour over the chevre sauce and stir till well combined. Serve immediately with lots of freshly ground pepper and grated parmesan. 

1 comment:

  1. I made this last night and we really liked it. It did need a lot of seasoning, and I put some red pepper flake in my husband's to spice it up a little bit. I also added shrimp. Thanks for the recipe!