I love Jamie Oliver, but I was cursing him as my attempt to make his recipe for ravioli with minted-asparagus, potatoes and mascarpone went up in flames this last weekend. I wont get into details other than to say that the whole thing ended up being a real big mess and I was nearly forced to go to my Jamie Oliver-themed potluck party empty handed (I substituted with his easy and excellent “Chocolate Pots” at the 11th hour. When in doubt, bring chocolate!). Despite my ill-fated ravioli-making endeavor, I really can’t stay mad at Jamie because the combination of flavors inspired by his recipe — tangy-creamy chèvre, sweet asparagus, and bright herbs — is quite wonderful and works perfectly as a quick and delightfully spring-y pasta dish that comes together nearly as quickly as boxed mac and cheese. This combo would be equally great on crostini, as a topping for pizza or melted inside a grilled panini.
BTW: I’ll make sure to nudge Simran to share the recipe for Jamie’s ricotta and herb stuffed mushrooms that she made for the potluck — they were great!
Pasta with Chèvre, Asparagus & Mint
You can omit the breadcrumbs to save a little time, or if you don’t have them handy, but I love them in this dish. They add an irresistible toasty flavor and crunch which is the prefect counterpoint for the creamy goat cheese.
- 1 pound boxed pasta
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1″ pieces (you may want to peel bigger asparagus before slicing)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 ounces chèvre (soft goat’s cheese), about 1/2 cup
- large handful of herbs (I like a mixture of mint and parsley), chopped just before serving
- zest of 1 lemon
- grated Parmegiano Reggiano, to taste
- 1 cup breadcrumbs, preferably homemade, toasted in olive oil until crisped and golden and seasoned with a pinch of salt (optional)
- pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. First blanch the asparagus for 1-2 minutes. Remove the asparagus and set aside, then add the pasta to the pot and cook according to package directions.
- When the pasta is done, toss with the butter and chèvre until the cheese and butter have melted and coasted the pasta. Add pasta water by the spoonful to loosen the sauce to your liking.
- Add the the blanched asparagus, herbs and lemon zest and toss well. Add 2/3 of the breadcrumbs, if using, and continue tossing.
- Serve sprinkled with remaining breadcrumbs, grated Parmegiano Reggiano and red pepper flakes (optional).
You may also like some of our other favorite quick pasta recipes: Pasta Al Pastore; Fresh Tomato Pasta; Pasta with Broccoli and Breadcrumbs; Pasta with Butternut Squash, Walnuts and Goat Cheese; Pasta with Sicilian Pesto Trapanese