Mushroom Spinach Goat Cheese Pasta

I knew two things this weekend: 1) I wanted a mushroom-heavy dish with supper 2) It was Sunday and Sunday supper is for pasta. Mushroom pasta is always a good idea but this time I wanted to try something new. I bookmarked this date night mushroom pasta with goat cheese years ago and decided it was time to actually give it a try. It came out better than I imagined. Certain cheeses, like goat cheese or feta have a distinct tang that don’t always make them the ideal base for a sauce. But once I dug into this recipe, I realized the goat cheese isn’t the main sauce ingredient but rather one of several that work well together.

I adapted the recipe a bit because I wanted to cut some of the carbs and cream so I’d feel slightly less guilty about it. My adapted version still came out extra tasty (and reheated really well the next day). Start by cooking the pasta according to package directions. I probably used 1/3 of a box of my new fave shape, pipe rigate. Reserve 1/3 c. pasta water, drain, and set aside while you make the sauce. Heat some butter in a large skillet or pot over medium, add sliced button mushrooms (I used 2 boxes aka 16 oz), and sauté until they’re nice and soft (about 7 minutes). Add 1 sliced shallot and 1/3 c. white wine or chicken stock. Stir it up, add some half and half (maybe 1/3 of a cup), and stir some more. Let the mushroom sauce simmer until it reduces. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss with a bit of the pasta water. Toss several large handfuls of fresh spinach, 1/4 c. parmesan (eyeball it), more pasta water, more tossing. Crumble in some goat cheese (maybe 3 oz?) and toss again before serving. Note: if you prefer your spinach extra wilted down, I’d recommend adding it directly to the mushroom sauce.

This is a great pasta for loading up on the veggies (I pretty much doubled the recipe’s veggie quantities). Gimme dem antioxidants! It also goes really well with chicken. When I reheated leftovers for lunch the next day, I added my chicken directly into the pasta and loved the combo. With the moisture released from the mushrooms, you don’t need a ton of the other ingredients to make the sauce. Just a bit of the half and half, parm, and goat cheese work with the mushroom juices and pasta water to make something saucy with tons of flavor.