Monday, April 22, 2013

Fettuccine with Asparagus and Creamy Goat Cheese

There are a million ways I could describe today's recipe, so I'd better start listing:
  1. Easy! You know how to boil water? Stir? Ok, then. You can handle this. Heck, turn over the reins to your kids to make this one. Watch The Real Housewives of Orange County while they take charge in the kitchen. 
  2. Fast! Dinner is on the table in less than 30 minutes. Talk about a perfect weeknight meal. 
  3. Vegetarian! Meatless Monday is all the rage. Hop on the bandwagon with creamy pasta and no one will miss the meat. 
  4. Spring-y! Asparagus and dill tell your tastebuds that Spring has sprung even if the thermometer disagrees.
  5. Delicious! Obviously, the most important thing. I wouldn't waste your time with an easy, fast, vegetarian, Spring-y dinner if it wasn't delicious. Seriously, people.
Let's make hot dinner.

Fettuccine with Asparagus and Creamy Goat Cheese
Adapted from Everyday Food
Serves: 6

1/3 cup pine nuts
1 pound fettuccini
2 bunches asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise into thirds
5 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pine nuts on a rimmed baking dish and bake for 4-5 minutes, until they are golden brown and smell toasty. (Alternatively, you can toast pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, but I always burn nuts when I toast them on the stove. Feel free to live dangerously, though.)

Cook the fettuccini to al dente according to package directions in a large pot of salted boiling water. Add the asparagus during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.

Return pasta and asparagus to the pot. Stir in goat cheese, mustard, dill, and toasted pine nuts. Add pasta cooking water and stir until the cheese is melted and the pasta is evenly coated with sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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