Asparagus Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

Working part-time and being a mother full-time, there are just some nights when I’ve got to cook something fast.  Before I knew better, those nights usually consisted of something frozen with a long list of not-meant-to-be understood ingredients.  Thinking shifted and a new arsenal of quick food has emerged.  Thankfully, my 4 year-old is a huge asparagus fan and the goat cheese, olive oil, lemon and pasta water come together to make what passes of as a rich, creamy and cheesy sauce.  Perfect.

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta (not changed much from the recipe at smitten kitchen)

Printable Recipe

– INGREDIENTS –

1 pound whole wheat rotini pasta
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons tarragon, plus more for garnish
1 5- to 5 1/2-ounce log goat cheese (the pre-crumbled stuff will not melt as well)
Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)

– PREPARATION –

1.  Add pasta to well-salted water and boil until just shy of done – 3 minutes less than the package directions.

2. Rinse and chop the asparagus.  Pick one spear and bend the end until it breaks.  Chop all the stalks to this point, then chop the remaining stalks into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.  Toss them into the pot with the pasta and cook for 3 minutes.

3.  Drain the pasta and asparagus, reserving one cup of pasta water.

4.  In a bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon peel, tarragon and goat cheese (crumbled up).  Add the hot pasta and asparagus and part of the pasta water.  Toss to combine.  Add more pasta water if needed. Season with salt, pepper and added lemon juice for more of a kick.