A few weeks ago, I realized it had been an absolutely ridiculous amount of time since I’d had goat cheese. Me – Mrs. Goat Cheese herself. Unacceptable. So when I got off the train one evening after work, I walked to a local market, and picked up a log of chevre. I didn’t want anything fancy and I definitely didn’t want anything time consuming (meal prep has been getting shorter and shorter, as you’d imagine), so I decided on a very simple pasta dish that would really make the goat cheese come through.
I love using creamy cheeses for pasta sauces. They give you that luxurious, rich feel, but they aren’t *quite* as bad for you as using heavy cream. And, of course, using a tasty cheese will yield some tasty pasta. This pasta is done in about the same time it takes you to cook the cavatappi, so it couldn’t be any easier. I always have frozen peas on hand, and love tossing them into pasta dishes. I’ve never been one to enjoy a side dish of peas (only if they are made the Greek way with tomato and dill) but I adore them when mixed with pasta, rice, etc.
Cavatappi with Goat Cheese, Peas, and Bacon
4 oz. pasta (with some of the cooking water reserved)
3 strips bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup peas
2 oz. goat cheese
2 Tbsp. toasted pine nuts (the easiest way to toast them is in a dry skillet until fragrant)
freshly ground pepper and salt if needed
Cook the cavatappi in boiling, salted water until al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking liquid and drain.
Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and then add the bacon. Once cooked, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a towel. Leave about 2 tsp. of bacon grease in the pan and discard the rest.
Add the garlic to the bacon fat and stir, just until fragrant. Add the pasta, peas and some of the starchy cooking water (start with just a little bit of the water; you can always add more). Once the peas have warmed through, add the goat cheese and stir until it coats the pasta, adding more pasta water if necessary. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with pine nuts and serve.