Fettucine with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

I love pasta.  I’m 1/4 Italian and those ancestral roots come out in my abundant love for pasta more than anywhere else – you certainly wouldn’t stop me on the street and say, “Whoa. You must be Italian.”  But come into my kitchen and you might guess it.

This dish is everything I love about a great pasta.  It’s simple, a little bit rustic, luxurious without being decadent.  The velvety sauce is nothing more than goat cheese melted by hot pasta and pasta cooking water, which, if you don’t already know, is liquid-awesome when it comes to pasta sauces.  You should always save a cup or two in case you need a little something to make your sauce just a nudge saltier or creamier or more silky.  And always, always generously salt your pasta water.

The ingredients here are quite simple and the preparation is unfussy but it all comes together into creamy, earthy wonderfulness.

Fettucine with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

1 lb. dried fettucine
6 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 c. pine nuts, toasted
1/4 c. chives, minced

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a palmful of salt.  Add the fettucine to the water and cook according to package directions.  When the fettucine is finished, reserve two cups of the cooking water before draining pasta.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute until browned and tender.

Put mushrooms, hot fettucine, goat cheese, and Parmesan in a large bowl and pour about a cup of the pasta water over everything.  Stir gently until the goat cheese is completely melted and everything is coated with the sauce.  Add more pasta water a little at a time if the sauce seems too dry or sticky.  Top with pine nuts and chives and serve.

Click here for printable recipe.