These past couple of weeks, Seattle is having some identity issues deciding whether it’s summer or fall. One day (or minute) it’s pouring and the next it’s 80 degrees and the sun is blazing. This has obviously also affected my cooking- do I want cold or hot? Is it time to break out the comfort foods of fall or grasp the last of the farmer’s market goods? Although I still have 3 more glorious weeks of summer before statistics class #3 and the rest of the UW academic world starts back up, I’m surrounded by 5-year-olds at work telling me about their kindergarten orientation (guess what- even before they’ve started elementary school they say that recess will be the best part- smart!) and their moms pretending that their “babies” are the ones who are nervous about leaving home all day. Clearly this is a time of transition, so I decided to mimic the Seattle identity crisis and just combine fall and summer into one dish.
You could almost call it glorified mac and cheese- it’s at least got the warm, creamy comfort food feel. Once again, I’m back to the goat because it’s oh-so-delicious-and-tummy-friendly. Kale is wonderful because it works for every season. Typically I cook with curly kale but I wanted to give lacinato (dino) kale a fair chance too- and I was just as impressed. Mushrooms are another great year-round ingredient and especially in vegetarian dishes- they give it that “meaty” substance without the heaviness. And then the lemon, basil, and bell pepper are just tart and refreshing, holding on to that summer sun. Mix all that together and voila- tangy, cheesy, fresh dinner is served!
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 8 oz Fusilli pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 oz goat cheese
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, chopped
- 1 tsp herbes de provence
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (optional)
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and lemon zest- sauté 2 minutes.
- Add mushrooms, bell pepper, herbs, and salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms and bell pepper start to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add kale to pan and cover for 2 minutes, letting it absorb the steam and wilt a bit.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water (may want a bit more or less) and drain the rest.
- Combine goat cheese, lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, and cooking water in a bowl. Stir well until creamy.
- Place pasta back in pot and add vegetables and goat cheese mixture. Stir everything to combine and cover with sauce.
- Add more salt and pepper, to taste. Toss in fresh basil and serve warm!