Presto Pasta Night!

I don’t usually post my supper dishes, particularly if they’re pasta based because I think people might find them a bit boring to read about. However, my recent discovery of foodie event, Presto Pasta, held by Ruth over at Once Upon a Feast, has changed my mind.
Pasta can guarantee you a speedy, nutritious and tasty supper and if you’ve had a busy day, sometimes this is all you want. Pasta dishes just tick all the boxes. And the more inspiration I can get for quick pasta dishes the better, so thanks for inventing this event, Ruth!
Yesterday, I emailed Paul asking him what he wanted for supper. The reply was brief and swift: “Pasta”.
I like it when Paul wants pasta because it generally means we will eat before 6pm. If I choose supper, we’re lucky if we eat before 8pm.
Apart from pasta being quick, it is also a good way of using up the rubbery vegetables shoved to the back of the refrigerator drawer. I remembered that I had a couple of courgettes (or zucchini, if you will) that were well past their ‘freshly picked’ status and a small barrel of organic goats cheese (the spreadable type, not the one with the rind) that was so old that the goat who kindly produced the cheese was probably a proud octogenarian by now.
Aside from these two choice ingredients, some dried up Parmesan, a half empty bag of penne, a mushy onion and a handful of frozen peas also woefully resided in my kitchen. An evil plan started to form in my brain. How about pasta with goats cheese, courgette and frozen peas? All of the necessary food types in one pan!
And any fears I had of this being a little bland were quickly pushed to one side once I tried it. The goats cheese had added its familiar tang to the dish, the courgette chimed in with a yummy green bite, the peas threw in some pop-on-your-tongue sweetness for good luck and some sauteed onions and garlic tied the whole thing together with a big Allium bow.
I also have a feeling that this would be a great way to get vegetable loathing children to eat their greens, particularly if you use a fancy, child-friendly shaped pasta, like the bow-ties. You can also omit the goats cheese and use an alternative strong flavoured cheese, like cheddar or just parmesan all the way.
I suppose you could fry up some bacon and add this to the dish but I think it would spoil the herby good-naturedness of the vegetables, turning into something a bit more decadent and, yes, fattening. However, if you are going to run to the dark side and add bacon, then why not stir in some single cream instead of the milk, to make the sauce even more devilishly unctuous?
200g Dried Penne (or pasta shapes of your choice)
1 Small Onion, peeled, halved and sliced thinly
1 Clove Garlic, finely chopped
Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Small (150g) Log Goats Cheese, the kind without the rind but with the texture of Boursin or Cream Cheese
1 Courgette (about 200g), topped, tailed and cut into roughly 1cm cubes
50g Frozen Peas
150ml Milk (I used skimmed) or Cream
50ml White Wine (optional but it does add a great dimension to the dish)
Small handful basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn
Salt and Pepper
Parmesan Cheese for Grating
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking liquor. Lightly oil the pasta and place to one side.
Heat the olive oil gently in a sauté pan and cook the sliced onion until soft. Throw in the garlic and cook until fragrant, maybe 30 seconds.
Add the courgette and fry gently until the courgette starts to turn translucent. Season lightly.
Crumble in the goat’s cheese and then add the pasta stirring well to combine.
Pour over the milk, white wine and pasta cooking liquor and bring to a rapid boil. You are aiming for most of the liquid to cook off, leaving a light coating on the pasta. This should take no longer than 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat, taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Stir in the basil leaves.
Serve in large bowls and sprinkle of some grated parmesan.
Apply to face and enjoy!


MeltingWok said...

You big teasers :P I'm folding all the flavors in my mind right now ..

Lis said...

Those are the best pasta dishes - the ones that come from the depths of your fridge & pantry. hehe

Sounds wonderful - all favorite flavors of mine! YUM!


bee said...

you have a wonderful blog here, freya and paul. discovered you through sig's. have added you to the blogroll.

Deborah said...

Please post your supper dishes more often - this looks wonderful!!

Susan said...

Italians have been tossing pasta with peas and cheese forever, but I'll bet not the chevre. Inventive, simple and quick. You are very brave to eat old goat anything. Nicely done.

Cheryl said...

Its got peas in it, I hate peas. But then it also has that beautiful cheese melting so I may just to start eating peas for this one.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I'd eat a big bowl of that and would have to be extremely polite and NOT have seconds. ;)

JennDZ said...

That sounds like a leftovers prize dinner! I love using up old bits of things and throwing them in pasta. Those turn out to be some of the best meals!

sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

This looks great! We love peas~ I will put them on almost anything.
Perfect dinner meal!

Brilynn said...

Goat cheese adds so much flavour to a dish, I love it.

sher said...

That looks so yummy! I can tell that would be marvelous as left-overs too. Of course, it looks so good, I doubt there would be leftovers!

Pip said...

I love dishes with leftovers, they're often the best. Courgettes and goats cheese together are just perfect to me! ;-P

Sara said...

I adore peas and pasta together! Great recipe.

Joyce said...

It's spring and the perfect time to partner pasta with all things green. Love it!

T.W. Barritt said...

I congratulate you on a successful pasta supper! I'd hate to imagine what would happen if I tried to whip up a pasta dish from the leftover items in my refrigerator ... t'would be too scary!

Kathryn said...

It looks so spring-like! Lovely. I think the cheese and peas on the pasta look really pretty...

Kelly-Jane said...

Looks lovely :) I'm having a real pasta fest atm, and I always like to see new combinations!

tigerfish said...

Agree with you on's quick, easy and a good way to use leftover or "god-forsaken-n-forgotten" ingredients left in the fridge, PLUS it's not as unhealthy as some may perceive it to be. :D

Lucy said...

Lovely - goat's cheese and peas are a very moreish combination indeed.

Deborah Dowd said...

This looks delicious... and courgette sounds so much prettier than zucchini!

Cynthia said...

The spur of the moment, use-whatever-you-have dishes often turn out to be so tasty. I've found that when you deliberately set out to buy the ingredients to make this same dish, they just don't taste the same :) or turn out the same way.

Belinda said...

My family owns (and I work for) a pasta manufacturing company here in Western Australia, so I totally agree with your notion of pasta being a fast and simple, yet wholesome and nutritious meal. There's just so much you can do with it. I love pasta so much that, although I've been surrounded by it for most of my life, I still often order it when eating out. My friends are always surprised by this behaviour! Guess I just can't get enough of a good thing ;o) Your pasta dish looks delish!

pom d'api said...

I love pasta, good recipe. And beautiful photos.
This looks delicious

Gattina said...

bascially pasta plus an open-minded cook are already a guarantee of a happy ending :D Freya, I'd come home even at 5 for this lovely pasta supper!

Saffron said...

A really tasty pasta!
Pasta is fantastic because you can cook it in so many different ways!

Claude-Olivier said...

Pasta...boring stories ??? Not at all, that's just the opposite! And it is always good to have new recipe like this one. I like goat cheese very much but I should admit that I have never tried with pasta...and I love pasta !

Thank you for your comment

Gemma said...

Yum! I don't think I really need to say anything else.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree, pasta is a quick and delicious way to use up vegetables and enjoy a meal. Late night dinners can also be a problem for us, especially when we're both working late.

Ari (Baking and Books)

Little Foodie said...

Mmmm. Love dishes like this. I'm seeing the goat! I don't think I've ever given the boys goats cheese, we've normally eaten it before they could pinch. We'll do a taste test. Amanda

kellypea said...

Mmmm...goat cheese plus ANYTHING rates in my book. This looks really good. No lunch today. I'm starving.

Are you drowning in burger recipes about now?

Ruth Daniels said...

Sorry that I somehow never got the original email about this excellent addition to Presto Pasta Nights. I'm adding it to the round up as I write this.

Hopefully, you'll share more pasta dinners with us.