Goat Cheese Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Olives

You had me at goat cheese and pasta…This summer we’ve had the sweetest yellow cherry tomatoes from Obercreek Farm. It’s my first stop at the local farmers’ market every week and I’ll be désolé the Thursday they are no longer there. Serves 4:

Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Burst Cherry Tomatoes and Olives

  • 1 pound short pasta (such as orecchiette, farfalle, fusilli, or rigatoni)
  • Salt
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups halved cherry tomatoes, divided
  • ½ cup chopped pitted green olives (such as Castelvetrano)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 6 ounces goat cheese, broken up into small pieces
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • Zest from 1 lemon (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until 1 minute shy of al dente (check the package directions for timing). Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water.

Place the pot over medium-high heat and add 4 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in about half the tomatoes, the olives, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the tomatoes just begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the goat cheese and cream.

When the goat cheese and cream have melted into a sauce, remove from the heat, stir in the drained pasta, the remaining tomatoes, Parmesan, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and toss until evenly coated. If the mixture looks dry, add a little pasta cooking water, a tablespoon at a time. Taste a piece of pasta to make sure it’s cooked through (if not, put the pot back on the heat for another minute or so, stirring). Stir in the basil, serve and enjoy!

My verdict:

I made the pasta in the Fasta Pasta, draining it and saving some of the pasta water, and made the sauce in a big frying pan while the pasta was cooking. It all came together quickly and easily and was so good it got Frank’s “you can make this anytime” seal of approval.

Weirdly, we didn’t have any orechetti or any kind of short pasta, so I used a bag of ditalini, which worked fine. Out of season, grape tomatoes would probably have more flavor than cherry tomatoes, and I might cook all or almost all of the tomatoes to get the most flavor from them.

The olives add a really nice touch to this—cutting some of the richness from the sauce, so even if you don’t have any Castelvetranos on hand, just use whatever you’ve got. Same for the lemon zest.



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