CREAMY GOAT CHEESE AND ASPARAGUS ORECCHIETTE
- 3/4 pound orecchiette
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
- 3/4 pound medium asparagus spears, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
1.In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until just al dente. Drain the orecchiette, reserving 2/3 cup of the cooking water.
2.Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
3.Add the orecchiette and the reserved cooking water to the skillet along with the lemon juice and zest; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the orecchiette is al dente and the asparagus is just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the goat cheese and chives and stir until melted. Transfer the pasta to bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese.
*Although the original recipe called for the above amounts, I used 1 lb. asparagus, 4 oz. (crumbled) goat cheese, 1 tsp. crushed red pepper and the juice from one whole small lemon. Mascarpone instead of the goat cheese would also go well (haven't tried that yet though...but asparagus goes amazing well with it as long as it is balanced with a saltier cheese, like parmigiano-regiano.