Mariel here. In two weeks, I’ll be headed up the coast for one of my best friend’s bachelorette parties. Since I’ve become fairly handy in the kitchen thanks to Feast, I volunteered to whip up dinner on Friday night. We’ll all be arriving from our various corners of the continental US, so we figured it’d be easier to eat in and reserve our energy for Saturday night. We’re older now, it’s better to ease in than jump in.
As soon as I raised my hand, I started stressing over what to make. I trolled through our recipe index and was sold on recreating this Farfalle with Fontina, Prosciutto and Crispy Leeks; it’s a rendition of one of our favorites from a local bistro here in town and it’s a surefire hit every time. But obviously I had to make things complicated and switch up the menu on myself.
This dish is similar in spirit but it’s even easier since it doesn’t necessitate making a Mornay Sauce. The ingredient list is incredibly short, which is a plus when serving a big group, and it takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish. The flavor, however, tastes like anything but a shortcut.
Typically relegated to a bit part as a garnish, chives take on a starring role adding a burst of spring-green freshness. The bacon (and the bacon renderings used to saute the pasta) lend some briny depth while the goat cheese does all the usual stuff that goat cheese does. I’d go so far as to say this is the perfect bowl of pasta. But I’ll let the hens be the judge of that.
Pasta with Creamy Goat Cheese, Crisp Bacon and Fresh Chives
Inspired by a recipe from Everyday Living
½ pound pasta (shells, farfalle, cavatappi or orechiette work best) – $1.99
1½ cups of reserved pasta water, divided
6 slices of thick-cut bacon – $3.29
4 ounces of goat cheese – $3.99
½ cup fresh chives, sliced -$1.89
½ a Meyer lemon, zested and juiced (half of a small regular lemon will work if you can’t find Meyer) – $0.39
Salt and pepper – stock
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $11.55
Cost per serving: $2.88
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1½ cups of the pasta water
2. While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat until good and crispy. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat from the skillet.
3. Add the goat cheese, pasta, and 1 cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet and cook in the bacon fat until the goat cheese melts. Stir frequently.
4. Remove from heat and toss in the bacon, chives, lemon juice and zest. Season with plenty of fresh pepper and add salt, if desired (but taste first, I did not need to salt this because the pasta water was salty as was the bacon). Serve immediately.
5. NOTE about remaining ½-cup of pasta water. If you have leftovers, use your remaining pasta water to reheat. It’ll help keep things from drying out.