Big Flavors, Small Price (June meal poll): Spaghettoni with Fresh Goat Cheese

Spaghettoni with goat cheese, ginger, parmesan, lemon rind, black pepper, scallion, toasted bread crumbs and other stuff.

It’s nearly always a balance, almost a dance – an equilibrium, a playing, contrast and synchrony, surprise and familiarity. Cooking that is, organizing a plate, adjusting for salt and sweet, umami and creamy, crunch and mushy and heat and bite and…

Technique counts, of course, as do quality ingredients, knowledge and other things but balance, well-integrated flavors and aspects of the same, is usually what makes or breaks a dish, pasta dishes even more.

7 food dials:

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…complimentary contrasts…

Maybe that’s one of the reasons why most famous pasta dishes are relatively simple and inexpensive. A few ‘popular’ ingredients combined the right way can give as much or more flavor than the most ‘noble’ of foods (the way they used to distinguish between expensive and cheap products in Italy, ‘noble’ vs ‘popular’ though of late ‘important’ is euphemistically used more. Sigh. What most… important, buffalo crap we often diminish language for…) Anyway.

This is one of a bizillion versions of a pasta dish I make often. It’s very un-important or waay too popular to find – at least in rustic interpretations – in any eatery or Food Network show. You can categorize this one pasta dish into really as many as you choose and make it in any way to suit you or guests tastes: sweeter, saltier, more subtle, more complex, ecc. All that’s imporant is you get the balance right of creamy cheese with the flavorings, be they… i dunno, ricotta with a bit of ginger and bacon and scallion, or Philadelphia with… smoked salmon and orange rind, etc. They’re perfect fridge-emptying dishes, of course, and actually rather healthy if you stay away or use less of the fattier ingredients (though of late we’ve seen that it’s more simple sugars that tend to damage us than most fats, both in and out of context.) Make a dish tonight for you and someone else. I’ll bet you you’ll both love it….

Next: June meal poll, prosciutto and mellon. And follow along on Facebook if you care to, even though it sort of sucks…

Pasta with Fresh Goat Cheese

…that pretty much covers it…
Prep Time 14 d
Cook Time 16 mins
Course first courses
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2


  • 200 grams spaghettoni or other long noodle rummo brand or other
  • 100 grams fresh goat cheese caprino
  • 1 grated lemon rind untreated skin
  • 40-/+ grams Parmigiano Reggiano grated …or any aged cheese you like. Mix and match
  • some prosciutto fat or guanciale rendered in a cold pan, then low heat
  • some (2-3tbls) fresh scallion leg chopped fine to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste pepper is important here, fresh ground. Could get fancy-ish and seperate the husks from the seed by hand-smashing in a motar and filtering. Nah. Careful on the salt.
  • 3 tabls. breadcrumbs, good quality. toasted in a warm-to-hot pan, a drop of oil or two.
  • 5-8 leaves not too old basil
  • 1 pat unsalted butter. optional like most ingredients in such am asembled dish


…one-two-three. First, toast the bread crumbs in a pan – over medium low heat – be sure to move them around nicely with a wooden spoon or whatever you prefer ujntil they’ve turned a crunchy gold hue. Twist the noodles into abundant hot water salted a bit less than usual. Meanwhile place the sliced pig fat into a cold pan on lowest heat to render its fat. Meanwhile shove all the ingredients into a big mixing bowl, cheese, lemon, basil, etc. You can change anything or add – it’s the balance that counts. Remove any remaining chunks of crspy fat or meat from the pan once the fat has rendered and place aside to dry – you can sprinkle over once plated. Now add some of the pasta’s cooking water (when the pasta is almost don, as it should be by then,) just a tablespoon or so at a time, and twirl it into the fat to make an emulsion. Also add a little to the ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix them all together.You can turn off the pasta a minute or two to let it finish its cooking, then transfer the noodles into the emulsion and toss. You can drain or simply lift them out of the pan. Heat high a few moments as you toss until the pasta begins to get creamy from the starch being released. 
   If you drain the pasta, make sure to keep a cup of the cooking water just in case. Turn off the heat, add the noodles to the flavorings in the bowl and mix well.  Lovely dish, intoxicating flavors, always good, fine with a white wine appropriate to whatever variation you’re making, and cheaper than anything even at a Mcdonald’s menu. 
Keyword goat cheese, keys to creating good food, pasta

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