I read blogs. I peruse Pinterest. I create recipes. I definitely don’t have a corner on the market, so I fix other people’s recipes; sometimes verbatim, others tweaked to suit my preference, gleaning the gist of the dish.
Anytime the word “pasta” appears, or better yet, a gorgeous photo of plated pasta I swoon.
In my mind, pasta is one of the basic food groups.
If you think about it, pasta and noodles span the culinary world. Each region of our vast orb has some sort of dish that involves pasta. And said noodles morph according to the region. Pretty much anything goes from rustic torn pasta tossed with garlic, olive oil and Parmesan to spicy, peanut-sauce-infused Pad Thai. Needless to say, many pasta dishes appear on my boards and on our table.
There’s a blog that I visit called Half Baked Harvest. The photos are remarkable, but what’s more, so are the recipes. My newest “save to try” was Tieghan Gerard’s Caramelized Balsamic Goat Cheese Pasta.
At first I was intrigued. I adore goat cheese and balsamic, but was a tad skeptical about using the vinegar as the sauce. However, her words caught my attention, “Oh my gosh, THIS PASTA!”
I’d like to say that I changed several things and made it my own or I’d had the brilliant idea to reduce balsamic vinegar to a lovely syrupy consistency to pair with pasta, but I didn’t. My reductions have always found their way to chops, steaks, vegetables or cheese. Alas, I’m forever indebted to Tieghan for sharing this idea, and now I’ll share her recipe with you, my friends.
Caramelized Balsamic Goat Cheese Pasta
Recipe courtesy of Half Baked Harvest
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 medium red beets, quartered
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 pound long cut pasta, such as spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese or whipped goat cheese
- Pomegranate arils, for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- On a baking sheet, toss together 2 tablespoons olive oil, the beets, thyme, and a good pinch of salt + pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the beets are tender and lightly charred.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente according to package directions. Just before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain.
- Melt the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they just begin to caramelize on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the skillet and place on a plate. To the same skillet, add the balsamic vinegar, honey and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the balsamic reduces by about 1/3 and is sticky to touch. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the pasta and mushrooms. Toss to coat, if the sauce seems too thick, thin it with a little of the pasta cooking water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve the pasta immediately, topped with roasted beets, goat cheese, and pomegranate arils (if using).
I did make a couple of teeny changes to the original recipe. I already had beets, so I skipped the roasting process, but did give them a quick toss in the skillet to add some crispy edges. Bucatini was my pasta of choice, since it has a hole through the center, like a straw. It’s just entertaining to eat. And my version was sans pomegranate arils. I’m also imagining assorted other roasted vegetables like carrots or Brussels sprouts. And … guess what I said after the first bite? “Oh my, this pasta!”
Happy eating, my friends –