Tangy Goat Cheese Pasta – Mac and Cheese Style

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Fusilli pasta, goat cheese, cream and panko bread crumb topping. What could be more satisfying?

I stumbled upon this dish at a restaurant in San Luis Obispo. Always looking for something different I began experimenting at home until I got it just right. Here’s my riff on a simple Mac and Cheese with fresh, herb goat cheese.

Creamy…tangy…different. This is not Mac & Cheese from a box!

10 – 12 ounces fusilli, rotini, or rocchetti pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 ½ cups heavy cream
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces fresh herb goat cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest (chopped fine)
2 tablespoon panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Asiago cheese (grated fine)
1 tablespoon parsley (stems removed and leaves chopped)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a wide, heavy pan with lots of surface area, heat butter over medium heat. Slowly add the cream and whisk to combine. Let simmer on medium low heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, without a cover so that it reduces. Add pepper and whisk to incorporate. Remove this white sauce from the heat and stir in cheese and lemon zest. Continue stirring until the cheese melts.

Combine the cheese sauce and pasta in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Pour into a lightly greased casserole dish, cover, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove cover.

Mix panko bread crumbs and Asiago cheese together. Sprinkle over pasta. Put back in oven under the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes or until top begins to brown. Remove from oven.

To serve, sprinkle parsley on top and serve while piping hot.

About Valley Vegetarian

The fresh chef providing consistently good vegetarian comfort food recipes.
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