pasta with asparagus and goat cheese

I feel like I used to have this room (my life), and it had some stuff in it; mostly stuff I liked (cooking, reading, teaching, gardening), although of course there were things I didn’t (cleaning). My main problem was that it was too empty. There was too much space, and I could never get it arranged in any pleasing way. It made me frustrated and unhappy, and I took less enjoyment even from the things I did like.

Then I added this huge, I don’t know, piece of furniture or some other room-dominating thing (a full-time job). And now the room is too full. I like it more overall, I just don’t know where to put everything. Some things I’m willing to give up (hours mindlessly spent searching the internet), but the rest I’m trying to rearrange. Where does exercise go? What about blogging? Keeping in touch with friends, spending quality time with my husband, learning new things? I know there’s room for them all, I just have to find out how to make it work.

I’m not going to stop cooking, obviously. But I will change the way I cook most nights of the week, keeping things simple. This dish, with only a handful of ingredients and one ingredient to chop, is a perfect example of how easy meals can still be tasty meals. This meal definitely fits into my crowded new room, and it leaves me plenty of space for exercise, a full day of work, a long chat with a friend, and even a batch of brownies. A life too full is certainly better than a life too empty.

Two years ago: Kung Pao Shrimp

Printer Friendly Recipe
Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Serves 6

16 ounces pasta
salt and pepper
2 pounds slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1½-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
8 ounces soft goat cheese

1. Bring at least 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon of salt and cook the pasta until it is almost tender, about 2 minutes short of the package instructions. Add the asparagus and cook until it is crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta and asparagus.

2. Return the pasta and asparagus to the pot and add the oil, zest from the whole lemon, juice from ½ the lemon, goat cheese, a generous grinding of pepper, and ½ cup pasta cooking water; stir until the goat cheese melts. Taste and add salt (you’ll probably need some), freshly ground black pepper, and more lemon juice if necessary. If the sauce becomes thick and sticky, stir in more pasta cooking water.


  1. This is not unlike the summer squash pasta recipe I just posted because yes, it is fast, simple, and delicious. Sadly while my husband grudgingly eats squash, he refuses to eat asparagus. Sigh.

  2. The adjustment takes time! But simple and delicious recipes like this one certainly make the process easier.

  3. I can’t wait to make this! I’ll have to hurry because asparagus season is almost over…
    I’m still waiting for that room-dominating piece of furniture to show up!

  4. So does the goat cheese just melt to become the sauce? That’s amazing, and sounds reeeally delicious… Man, my mouth is watering. 😀


  5. I love the way the pasta looks, I have never had a goat cheese sauce and I like you analogy of life being too busy. I look forward to your easier weeknight dinner blogs!

  6. I agree. My room is pretty full too and I struggle to organize it. This pasta looks great though. I’m adding it to my list.

  7. First of all, that looks freakin’ delicious. Second of all, are you in my brain right now? I know exactly what you mean about trying to find the best way to arrange the furniture. It ain’t easy to figure out, unfortunately, but we have our whole lives to do it, right?

    I know how time-consuming food blogging can be, but I’m sure you’ll find ways to make it easy on yourself. Your food photos are so pretty and I like your not-too-long, not-too-short blog entries, so I hope you keep them coming for as long as possible!

  8. I really need to work on simplifying my life (um, cooking) too. This pasta looks wonderful!

  9. You had me at goat cheese…yum!

  10. That’s exactly how I felt the last couple years in my job. Too much time spent there, not enough baking, blogging, and being with the fiance. All about balance, right? Some days you need easy, tasty meals like this. With a glass of wine. Obviously.

  11. I can totally relate! I need to simplify as well and have been on the hunt for quicker weeknight recipes. This is perfect!

  12. Pasta coated in some type of cheese is definitely my weeknight meal of choice. I’ve never thought about using goat cheese but after seeing your pictures I know I’ll be trying that out next!

  13. This looks really yummy, Bridget!