Inspiration for this came from a couple of pastas I’ve made before. This one (originally from Smitten Kitchen) and this one from Fine Cooking. I actually didn’t realize how similar they were until I started writing this recipe after I made this for dinner. I thought about not posting it since they were so much alike. But then I figured that it’s worth sharing because it shows how great this method is. Adding a log of goat cheese to warm pasta, along with a little pasta water, makes for a super simple, creamy and delicious sauce and a great jumping off point for whatever else you feel like adding in.
If you read the ingredient list below you’ll notice some amounts for a few things aren’t too specific. The reason for that is that I didn’t do a great job of writing down what I was doing as I made this! If you’re a recipe follower and prefer a precise measurement, I encourage you to use this recipe to broaden your horizons and have a little faith in yourself and find your inner Martha, or Julia, or whoever.
If you don’t like sundried tomatoes, use less or leave them out, same with the greens. Don’t have quite 2 cups of leftover chicken? Not a problem. I used to hate when recipes said “salt and pepper to taste”. I’d get worried about not adding enough or adding too much. So taste as you go, starting with a little and adding more if you feel like it needs it. Same with the lemon juice. It really ends up being a fun process when you get comfortable doing it.
Ricotta would be an OK cheese to substitute, if you don’t love the tang of goat cheese. I guess you could use blue, but I’m sure that would be overwhelming for even a blue cheese lover like myself. I don’t think feta would melt properly, but let me know if you try it and it does!
Use different types of pasta, flavored goat cheese, whatever veggies you want, add chicken or sausage or leave out the meat for a satisfying vegetarian meal. There are lots of great options to make this pasta your own! Eat up and enjoy.
Penne with Asparagus, Chicken, Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomatoes and Wilted Greens
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off and cut in halves or thirds on the bias
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken works well)
- 1 4-5 ounce log plain goat cheese
- 10-15 sundried tomato halves, packed in oil, julienned
- a couple generous handfuls of greens (spinach, arugula, baby kale)
- 1 lemon, juiced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of reserved pasta water (you may not use it all)
- Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente, adding in asparagus during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
- Set aside a cup of the pasta water, then drain pasta and asparagus and transfer to a large bowl. Add in the goat cheese and begin to mix, add a little pasta water to create a sauce and help melt the cheese.
- Add in the greens, chicken and sundried tomatoes. Toss to coat then season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. If the pasta seems dry, add more pasta water.