Monday, January 2, 2012

Goat Cheese Apple Walnut Pasta – Suspect Supper Turns into Super Side Dish

It sounded so good on paper. Yes, this creamy, tangy goat cheese sauce, spiked with sweet apples and walnuts was going to make quite the memorable winter pasta dinner. The only problem was, halfway through the bowl I suffered that most dreaded of all pasta eating afflictions…palate fatigue.

For whatever reason, after three or four ounces of this perfectly fine concoction, I got tired of eating it. It wasn’t that it started to taste bad; it just became a little tedious. This is not an uncommon phenomenon, especially with a bowl of macaroni.

However, instead of declaring my goat cheese, apple, walnut pasta entrée idea a failure, I decided to cleverly re-brand it as a tasty, seasonal side dish. The same exact recipe that fell a little flat as a main course, turned out to be a stellar side for some roast pork.

Of course, with taste being as subjective as it is, maybe you’ll have a different opinion as to this pasta’s worthiness as a headliner, but I wanted to be clear about my official recommendation. Even simply adding some slices of cooked chicken breast would have transformed the dish into something a little less “one-note.”

By the way, this isn’t something to make way ahead of time, as the walnuts react with the dairy in the sauce, and will turn your leftovers a fairly disturbing purple-blue color! If you’re not going to eat this immediately, then don’t mix in the nuts until service. I hope you give this great winter pasta…err, I mean side dish, a try soon. Enjoy!

2 cups ditalini, or other small macaroni
1 tbsp butter
1 apple, diced
1 cup chicken broth
4 oz fresh creamy-style goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves

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