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Pasta with Tomatoes, Arugula and Goat Cheese

Arugula wilted by the heat of the pasta and tomatoes sautéed just until their skins pop make this dish colorful and fresh tasting. The goat cheese melts into a creamy sauce. Any pasta shape that traps and holds the sauce and greens will work.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. plus 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 
  • 3/4 lb. cavatappi, fusilli or ziti  
  • 2 cups loosely packed arugula leaves (about 1/2 bunch) 
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, stemmed  
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • 1/4 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Directions:

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/4 cup of the cooking water, and place the pasta in a warmed serving bowl. Mix in the arugula and keep warm.

Just before the pasta is ready, in a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the tomatoes and, holding the pan handle, roll the tomatoes around by jerking the pan toward you, then pushing it away. While the tomatoes cook, sprinkle them with the garlic. Keep the tomatoes moving until their skins crack, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with the 1/2 tsp. salt. Spoon the tomatoes over the pasta.

Dollop the goat cheese, 1 Tbs. at a time, on top of the tomatoes. Using a large fork and spoon, toss to combine, adding 1 or 2 Tbs., or more, of the cooking water if the pasta seems dry. Season with pepper and serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking, by Mary Abbott Hess, Dana Jacobi & Marie Simmons (Oxmoor House, 2003).