Belonging to my rowing club involves (you guessed it) rowing, but also a social aspect. There are a few hundred members divided into a handful of social crews: each crew has a monthly dinner, plus an annual fundraiser that they're responsible for. My crew puts on a wine tasting every summer, and I am on the food planning committee for it. While planning the menu, the vintner we're using recommended a goat cheese and mushroom pasta to pair with one of the wines. One of the many fun and wonderful things about our monthly potluck dinners is that they're a great opportunity to test recipes for the wine tasting and get feedback.
This week I was responsible for trying my hand at the recommended pasta. I looked at many (maaaaany) goat cheese pasta recipes, and in the end, I took some techniques from different recipes and used my judgement to adapt this recipe into something very delicious.
Frankly, I was not expecting to like it. I was wrong: I loved it. It was also a hit at dinner, and we'll be serving it at our event in August. If this recipe appeals to you, I've posted it below so that you can make it too. If you don't want to make it but still want to eat it, you should come to the wine tasting, which is open to the public! More info to come on how to purchase a ticket.
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pasta
16 ounces uncooked rigatoni or bowtie pasta or whatever pasta floats your boat
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
20-24 ounces (depending on how your grocery store has them packaged) fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini and white. Next time I'll throw some more boldly flavored ones in - shiitake, oyster, chanterelle.)
¼ cup minced shallots
2 large garlic cloves, minced (about a tablespoon)
⅓ cup white wine (All I had was rosé, and it worked just fine.)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
4 cups baby spinach, washed & roughly (not finely!) chopped
6 ounces goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions. Be sure not to overcook it or it will get mushy and not hold up as well in the sauce. Drain and set aside. (If you’re worried it’s too soft, quickly rinse in cold water to stop it cooking.)
Meanwhile, work on the sauce:
Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper them, and sauté until golden brown and soft, 5-10 minutes. You might want to do this in batches to get them nice and brown and build flavor. Add the garlic, shallots, and wine, and give it a few good stirs. Add the chicken stock. Let it cook 2-3 minutes. Add whipping cream. It will look pretty thin: Let it simmer about five minutes, or enough to thicken a bit. You may need to lower the heat so it doesn't scorch. Whisk in goat cheese. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Add spinach, mix it all up.
In a large pot or bowl, toss the pasta with the mushroom sauce. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Devour.