My husband woke up from an afternoon nap and was hungry. “Mac ‘n’ Cheese” was his suggestion. While sometimes the blue box hits the spot, I wasn’t feeling something that … orange. So I countered by offering to make a quick pasta dish despite having very little produce in stock. It turned out fine, and despite not being mac ‘n’ cheese, he had thirds.
Using penne pasta, half a log of goat cheese, some frozen peas, half a tomato, half an onion, and a clove of garlic, I managed to cobble together a dish that tasted pretty darn good topped with fresh mint and served with a crunchy homemade baguette (baked during his nap).
This is a great basic recipe that can be modified easily depending on what you have on hand. Last week I made a simple angel hair pasta with goat cheese and asparagus. But here is what is in the photo!
Penne Pasta with Goat Cheese, Peas, and Mint
about 1.5 cups dry penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small or 1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tomato, diced
3/4 cup green peas, frozen
2 teaspoons lemon juice (1/2 tsp zest if you have it, unlike me)
about 2 ounces goat cheese (half a log)
salt and pepper to taste
Boil pasta according to directions on package. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Strain.
While pasta is boiling, heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and stir to coat with oil. Let onions saute until slightly softened, stirring occasionally, about 2-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and tomato. After about a minute, clear the middle of the pan and add in the frozen peas. Reduce heat to medium. Add lemon juice and a dash of salt and pepper.
About this time, the pasta should be done. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to your veggies. Stir well. Now add the goat cheese and stir until mostly melted. Add the pasta to the veggies and cheese, stirring until well-coated. Add more pasta water if the mixture is too thick. The pasta will continue to absorb everything, so you’re better off adding a little too much pasta water.
Serve immediately, sprinkled with fresh mint, salt, and pepper. If you just made baguettes, add a bit of that on the side.
What blue box?