Monday, May 30, 2011

Broccolini Pasta with Goat Cheese

Here is a dish that is simple and delicious ... simply delicious! I know. Sometimes I just amaze myself with how cleverly I can turn a phrase! But seriously, this really is darn good.

I had something similar to this at California Pizza Kitchen and I couldn't stop thinking about it. Thus was the inspiration for this one dish dinner.

The first time I made it I used rotini pasta. I didn't have rotini this time so I used orecchiette. Orecchiette means "small ears", just in case you come upon an Italian food trivia game. There was lively discussion about this in our house. I swore it meant "lambs ears". I have no idea whatsoever where I got that idea, but I was so cocksure of myself. Lord, I hate when I'm wrong. I had to man up to it when I looked it up because I knew Bob would google it for himself if I didn't come clean. But I digress.

There really isn't a recipe. I just eyeballed amounts for as big a batch as I wanted. We like it warm the first night and the leftovers we'll eat cold, or with just a few minutes in the microwave to knock the chill off. And you can really use any protein you like, or even none at all. The first time I made it I sauteed shrimp. The next time I added cubed ham. The version I had at the restaurant had grilled chicken. It is so versatile that just about any protein tastes good.

I will say that I think the goat cheese is definitely a must have in this dish. It takes it to a whole new level. Be generous with it! And to add earrings on the elephant (one of Bob's phrases that just cracks me up!), I toasted pine nuts and sprinkled those on top. Oh - YUM!!!

Broccolini Pasta with Goat Cheese
Pasta - such as rotini, shells, orecchiette - cooked according to directions & drained
Broccolini - blanch in pasta water the last 2 minutes of cooking time for pasta, then chop into 1/2 inch pieces
Sundried Tomatoes - chopped (I use copious amounts because as far as I am concerned they are like crack - uh, let me clarify that I have no real knowledge of what crack is like, but if I imagined what it could be compared to, it would probably be chocolate or sundried tomatoes - just not together)
Garlic - chopped and sauteed in olive oil
Olive Oil - enough to cook garlic and enough to moisten ingredients when tossed together
Shrimp, Grilled Chicken, Ham or your choice of protein
Goat Cheese - my favorite is the goat cheese with a touch of honey in it
Toasted Pine Nuts
Salt & Pepper - to taste

Mix all ingredients and toss well. Serve with a green salad and you will just not believe how good this tastes!!!