Pasta with Spicy Goat Cheese Sauce

I’ve been pushing hard the past few weeks teaching two courses in an intensive May semester, and it’s finally caught up with me. I’ve got a cough and sore throat and tonight I found myself craving spicy comfort food. I wanted something simple, so I went through what I had on-hand to come up with an idea.

I always have pasta in the house, and had some fresh mushrooms in my fridge. On Saturday I bought some delicious four-pepper crusted goat cheese at my neighborhood farmers market. With no more energy than I have today, I figured that was enough to make-do. I didn’t measure anything – I wasn’t up to it, and figure that you can’t go wrong with a three-ingredient meal. (Actually, I wound up using 4 ingredients, but that wasn’t my plan at the start.) Adjust everything to taste, and you’ll be fine. It was delicious, satisfying, and even better it was fast and easy, with minimal prep and cleanup. This is so simple, I’m almost embarrassed to blog it, but want to keep a record so I’ll remember to make it again.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. I used brown-rice penne pasta. Drain and briefly rinse.

Meanwhile in a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat (probably 1-2 Tablespoons – I drizzed it over the pan and swirled it to coat the bottom).  Add to the pan:

  • crimini or baby bella mushrooms (halved if small; quartered if larger)
  • sprinkle of salt

Cook the mushrooms, stirring frequently. If they get dry add a splash of white wine or another liquid to the pan to keep from sticking (I had some leftover sauvignon blanc that I used).  You don’t need to use a lot, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan (a couple of Tablespoons at most – you can add more if you need to).

When the pasta is done, add it to the pan, then stir in a dollop of goat cheese (I used about 1/4 cup). I used pepper-crusted goat cheese. You could just as easily use plain goat cheese and add red-pepper flakes, or even just stick with plain goat cheese or herbed goat cheese. Whatever you like will be good, I’m sure.

Reduce heat to low and stir until the goat cheese is melted, then serve.

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