Oh my gosh, THIS PASTA!!
It is so different from any other pasta recipe I’ve made before. First off, it has zero cream, it’s light on the cheese and has only two tablespoons butter. I know, I know, what?!? Even though this caramelized balsamic goat cheese pasta is missing a lot of the indulgent stuff (that I normally love), it has so much flavor and is so quick to make!
If you’re a little confused as to exactly what IS in this pasta, let me just tell you all the details. Have you guys ever had balsamic glaze? I’m sure you have, it’s often served over caprese salads or drizzled atop many a pasta dish. Balsamic glaze is technically just reduced balsamic vinegar, pretty much the sauce for this pasta. You do need to have to appreciate balsamic to enjoy this recipe, but if you do, than you absolutely must give this a try!
The reduced and caramelized balsamic is tangy and slightly sweet, it’s quite possibly one of the most delicious sauces to coat pasta in…and when paired with a respectful amount of creamy or whipped goat cheese? Well, the result is pasta dinner PERFECTION!
So real talk for second? I’ve decided that the best recipes are born after the hardest of days. I’m just going to be honest here, I have been having a bit of a hard time creativity wise lately, and it’s it been KILLING me. Last week, after a particularly hard day, I decided pasta was needed for dinner, but I didn’t feel like getting a million and one things out and making the kitchen a complete mess…again. Plus, after days and days of cooking and shooting, I really just wanted something simple. All I had on hand was pasta (obviously), multiple bottles of balsamic vinegar (a bulk buy from Costco) and a couple of logs of goat cheese (always). I remembered a recipe I had seen in Donna Hay for balsamic pasta. So…inspired by that recipe, I basically just threw everything together in a skillet, roasted some beets and called it a day.
When I finally sat down and took a fork full, it was only then that I realized this pasta was kind of amazing…and the most perfect thing for a stressed out mind. I mean, it has such a different flavor, it’s unbelievably DELICIOUS! I do love balsamic, but guys, even if I only liked it…wow, you just have to give this recipe a try, you really do!
The secret to this dish is the caramelizing of the balsamic. It sounds fancy, but it’s actually really easy. To start, you quickly cook up some mushrooms and garlic for a little added flavor, then add the balsamic vinegar and simmer until the sauce reduces into a thick, syrup-like sauce. Since we’re using this sauce on pasta, I didn’t let mine get too thick, but if it thickens too much, just thin it with water. Then all you do is add your pasta, toss, add the cheese, roasted beets, and EAT. Easy as can be!
The beets are perfectly paired with this pasta (and they add a nice festive red color to the dish too!), and the goat cheese really balances out the sharp and tangy flavors of the balsamic. When I made this dish again to photograph, I had some leftover whipped goat cheese on hand (just whip goat cheese with a little cream and salt), so I used that, but any goat cheese will do. If you’re not a fan of goat cheese, try using burrata, as I’m sure that would be delish as well!
Bottom line here: you really need to give this pasta a try. Preferably as soon, maybe even for dinner tonight. Or maybe for your holiday party this weekend? After all, this pasta is rocking some pretty solid holiday colors. Love it!
Caramelized Balsamic Goat Cheese Pasta.
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 medium red beets, quartered
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- kosher salt and pepper
- 1 pound long cut pasta, such as spaghetti
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese or whipped goat cheese
- pomegranate arils, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
On a baking sheet, toss together 2 tablespoons olive oil, the beets, thyme, and a good pinch of salt + pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the beets are tender and lightly charred.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al dente according to package directions. Just before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain.
Melt the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until they just begin to caramelize on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the skillet and place on a plate. To the same skillet, add the balsamic vinegar, honey and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for 5-8 minutes or until the balsamic reduces by about 1/3 and is sticky to touch. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the pasta and mushrooms. Toss to coat, if the sauce seems too thick, thin it with a little of the pasta cooking water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the pasta immediately, topped with roasted beets, goat cheese, and pomegranate arils (if using). Eat!
Be sure to share! 🙂