Quinoa Pasta With Asparagus, Lemon & Goat Cheese

Quinoa pasta with asparagus and goat cheese

As we all can attest, the climate has reached extreme levels of unpredictability. So when you find yourself in a t-shirt on a 60 degree day in the middle of winter, you take the longer walk to work, enjoy the sunshine and go with it. It’s also a perfect excuse to enjoy a summer meal one last time before the real cold hits, and this past Monday I did just that.

Since my weather widget lied to me about the day’s forecast, I did not wear a t-shirt on Monday. I instead found myself stuck in a warm sweater, walking around amongst people in dresses and rompers, wishing that I could fully enjoy this brief stint of perfect warm breezes. So, by the end of the day I was determined to make up for it with a light and refreshing meal.

I decided to make a pasta dish that I never got around to cooking during those scorching days past- quinoa pasta with goat cheese, lemon zest, asparagus and tarragon. To say this hit the spot would be an understatement. The warm pasta and light ingredients tasted tasted like summer and felt like winter. It also doesn’t take too much effort in the kitchen. A few simple steps and you’ve got yourself an all-encompassing meal. So for those rare summer days, or for when you simply find yourself in the mood for something hearty, but light and refreshing, here’s the recipe via Bon Appetit…

1 pound fusilli or rotini (spiral-shaped pasta)
1 pound slender 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 chopped fresh tarragon plus sprigs for garnish
1 5- to 5 1/2-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add asparagus and cook until pasta is tender but still firm to bite, about 3 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, combine oil, lemon peel, and chopped tarragon in large bowl. Coarsely crumble in goat cheese.
Drain pasta and asparagus, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Add hot pasta, asparagus, and 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid to bowl with cheese mixture. Toss to coat, adding more reserved liquid if dry. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to shallow platter. Garnish with tarragon sprigs.


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