Sunday, June 20, 2010

Asparagus, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta

I suppose I should mention something about the different types of pasta noodles out there. If you're vegan, there are loads of eggless pastas out there, and when I post a recipe I'll assume you know which ones to buy. I personally go for the nutrient-rich whole wheat pastas. Durum wheat (aka semolina, which most high-end pastas are made of) is very high in protein and gluten. This is the tastiest pasta, but not as healthy as the whole wheat variety. Multi-grain is not the same as whole wheat, so look at the back of the package and make sure you know what you're getting.

I had to rework this recipe to get the flavor right. The first time it was a little bland, so make sure to add lots of salt and pepper and as much lemon as you want. Some parm would really liven things up, as well. Don't be afraid to throw it all back in the pan and mix in more if you need to. When the balance is right, it's a lovely dish, and a great alternative to a typical cream sauce.

1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped and cut into bite size pieces
2-3 cups baby spinach leaves
1lb angel hair pasta
2 Tablespoons EVOO
2 Tablespoons flour
1 14oz can vegetable broth
4oz goat cheese
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Salt and lots of Pepper to taste

Boil salted water over high heat. Blanch asparagus in boiling water ~3-4 minutes. Remove and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Add the angel hair to the boiling water and cook a couple minutes less than package directions (extra al dente). Meanwhile, heat the EVOO in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Mix in the flour with a whisk, add the broth and cook for 2 minutes, whisking continually, until the sauce thickens. Stir in the goat cheese, lemon zest and juice. Add the asparagus and spinach. Drain the angel hair, reserving 1 cup water. Add pasta to the sauce and stir until spinach wilts and well mixed. Season with salt and lots of pepper and top with pine nuts. If needed, add some of the reserved water to smooth it out.



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