Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lemon Pasta with Goat Cheese and Spinach

My job provides free meals.  
This is a beautiful thing.  Also, a money saver.  
Coffee.  Soda.   Juice.  Bagels.  Muffins.  Salad Bar.  Sandwich Makings.  Panini Grill.  Hot Entrees. 
When my sister moved to Denver and started her job, she needed to bring a lunch.    She looked around my kitchen.   Nothing.    
I didn't have anything suitable for packing a lunch.   I didn't make foods with a lot of leftovers.   For me, dinner only needed to last once.    I have since changed some of my cooking habits...
She took the leftovers of this pasta to work and her co-workers were impressed, "Do you always eat like this?"  The answer is no.   This pasta was colorful, savory and lots of flavor going on...the veritable party in your mouth. 
If you aren't a big cilantro or parsley fan, start small.   You can always add a little more. 
If you love lemon, add some additional zest or juice. 
What You Need
1 box whole grain penne - prepare per box instructions, don't use any oil
4 oz fresh goat cheese
1 10oz bag of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (fresh spinach would probably be amazing)
3 cups fresh parsley, chopped
2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
pecan halves and shaved Parmesan for garnish
What You Do
Boil your water and cook the penne per package instructions.   Before you drain the water, reserve two cups of the hot pasta water.     Drain your pasta into a strainer.
In the same pot, pour in one cup of the pasta water and add the 4 oz of goat cheese.   Stir over medium.   Add pasta, spinach, parsley, cilantro, lemon zest and juice.   This will create the sauce for your pasta.  Return the pasta to the pot.   If you need/want to, add the second cup of water that you reserved.   Season with salt, pepper and/or lemon pepper to taste.
Garnish with pecan halves and shaved Parmesan.

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