If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I love a fast and easy pasta recipe and this pasta with goat cheese and zucchini is one of those dishes. It’s quick and easy to put together and ready in under 30 minutes. The hot pasta is tossed with a light, tangy goat cheese sauce that’s lemony and has a touch of heat from some red pepper flakes and minced garlic. Sautéed zucchini is added and its mild taste lets the goat cheese sauce shine through. Throw in some toasted almonds for crunch and your dish is ready to serve.
If you’re a goat cheese fan then this recipe is for you. Even if you’re on the fence about goat cheese this recipe may push you solidly into the FOR camp. I’ve been experimenting with this recipe for a while now. The goat cheese is creamy and tangy but needs to be balanced out with some lemon – which brightens up the whole dish. Next, minced garlic and red pepper flakes are added to the sauce to give the dish a little fiery kick. Zucchini, with its mild taste, is a great addition to this recipe – it’s also a good source of dietary fiber. This recipe is a perfect weeknight dish – easy and flavorful – and takes less than 30 minutes to make.
A couple of notes:
- This dish comes together quickly, so have everything prepped, measured and chopped before you begin cooking.
- Use a large sauté pan to cook the zucchini. If the pan is too small, the zucchini will steam rather than brown.
- If you’re not a zucchini fan, then asparagus or sautéed spinach would work well as a substitution.
- Reserve a little of the pasta water before draining the pasta and add a couple of tablespoons of pasta water at a time to loosen up the sauce if necessary.
Pasta with Goat Cheese and Zucchini
Pasta with goat cheese and zucchini. The perfect weekend night dish – easy and flavorful – and ready in under 30 minutes.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2 to 4
- 2 cups penne pasta
- 3 small/medium sized zucchini (about 1 pound) – quartered vertically then sliced into 1/4″ slices.
- 1 veggie bouillon cube
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 3 large cloves of garlic – minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2.5 oz of goat cheese – half a 5 oz package – crumbled
- 1/2 large lemon – about 3 tbs
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds – toasted
- 2 tbs minced parsley – I used flat leaf parsley
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add bouillon cube and pasta and cook according to package instructions. Before draining pasta, set aside a little pasta water to add to the sauce if the pasta seems too dry.
- In a large sauté pan, toast almonds over high heat for 1 minute until slightly browned. Shake the pan continuously so they don’t burn. Set aside.
- Using the same large sauté pan, heat 1 tbs of olive oil over medium heat and add the zucchini, one clove of minced garlic and 8 twists of black pepper from a pepper mill. Stir occasionally until zucchini is nicely brown and cooked through – about 8 minutes.
- When pasta is done, drain and set aside in the colander. In the same pan that you cooked the pasta, add 2 tbs olive oil, 2 minced cloves of garlic, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. The pan will be hot so swirl the ingredients around for 30 seconds then add in the drained pasta and most of the crumbled goat cheese. Stir to combine. Add in the cooked zucchini, toasted almonds and minced parsley. Toss gently to combine. If pasta and goat cheese sauce seem dry then add a few tablespoons of reserved pasta water to loosen up the sauce. Sprinkle a little crumbled goat cheese on the top of the dish before serving. Serve immediately.
I used penne but fusilli or ziti would work well also.