It’s been a busy weekend. I feel as though I’ve been having a lot of those lately, but it is the honest truth. Long weeks; busy weekends. We enjoyed Friday night with some friends playing board games by candlelight. The tradition started last spring when we had these friends over to our place for dinner, the same night as Earth Hour. As recommended, we powered down in our house, and lit an array of candles while we played board games. After the prescribed time was up, we didn't want to turn the lights back on. It was so much fun that we’ll never be able to turn back now!
On Saturday I ran errands and tried to start a mushroom lasagna before attending an awards ceremony, as I was being recognized as the nominator of an award recipient. Today we labored away working on cleaning out my mother-in-law’s old home. The task was enormous, and I am so grateful to my wonderful family for stepping up to help without hesitation. My mother prepared a delicious spread for when we were ready to break for lunch. The men ate ham sandwiches, while I enjoyed her egg salad. For dessert we had homemade chocolate chip cookies and pumpkin rice pudding (which she appropriately added chocolate too – we do love that combination). We made a good dent (with the food and the house), but our work is yet to be done.
At the end of the day, my husband and I returned home entirely exhausted, and much in need of a homemade meal. My lasagna was waiting to be finished, but we couldn’t curb our hunger long enough for that to be completed. I went to my go-to recipe for when I want a quickly made meal from scratch, using pantry ingredients. I’ve made this many times and it never disappoints. I keep all of these ingredients in my pantry, and always have some goat cheese on hand (it has a very long refrigerator life for a cheese!). If I don’t have any Italian parsley, I’ll just omit it, even thought it adds some nice contrasting color to the pasta.
You may have noticed that tomato paste is one of my favorite ingredients, and I’ll jump at any opportunity to cook with it. The intensity of the tomato paste, the sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes, and the tanginess of the goat cheese make this a delicious pasta. The goat cheese also adds a creamy texture. You can use any kind of pasta, but I like using angel hair with this recipe because it cooks so quickly. On different occasions, I’ve added chicken, shrimp, scallops, or lump crab to this pasta to add some protein. I also think a fillet of grilled swordfish would be delicious served with it!
Angel Hair with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
(Adapted from Everyday Pasta)
1 (8.5 oz.) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped (oil reserved)
1 small onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste (preferably with Italian seasoning)
1 cup dry white wine
1 pound angel hair pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
5 oz. soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the tomato mixture and toss to coat, adding some reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta, to taste, with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with the goat cheese and parsley and stir. Mound the pasta into bowls and serve.