This pasta is a tribute to a crostini appetizer I learned to make when I was in Avignon. I stumbled upon a cooking demonstration at the Les Halles Indoor Market there during my visit to France in 2007. Ever since then, any party requiring appetizers will be debuting this crostini. I still have the recipe printout from the chef, neatly stored behind plastic. The other recipe he gave was a creme de petit pois, a cold thin pea puree with mint and creme fraiche--also delightful, but that's another post.
After making the crostini a week ago for a party, I was left with all the makings for the crostini, except the baguette. And thus the
baguette toastee pasta au chevre frai et legumes croquants was born.
Something about fresh basil and goat cheese is magical. Dare I say moreso than basil and fresh mozzarella? I threw in a few yellow pear tomatoes from my garden since the plant is ripening tomatoes at lightning speed with the sun we've been having.
Pasta with Goat Cheese, Asparagus and Sugar Snap Peas
1/2 pound pasta
1 big bunch of asparagus, sliced thin at an angle
1-2 big handful of sugar snap peas, sliced thin
1 handful of fresh basil, chopped
1-2 big spoonfuls of tomato paste or 1/3 to 1/2 cup of a good tomato sauce
About 1/3 cup Goat cheese
1 sprig of fresh thyme, chopped (optional)
A few radishes, thinly sliced (optional)
Halved cherry or pear tomatoes (optional)
Salt, to taste
Boil the pasta according to the direction. In the last minute of boiling, toss in the asparagus and snap peas. Drain the pasta when the minute is up. Whilst hot, stir in the basil, tomato paste or sauce. You may need to thin the paste a bit to get it to stir in nicely. Add the thyme if you are using it, crumble in the goat cheese and stir so that is can dissolve a bit in the hot pasta. Stir in the radishes and tomatoes, if you are using them, and a tiny drizzle of olive oil.
Toast slices of baguette until crisp. When cooled a bit, spread with goat cheese. In a bowl, toss together the sliced radish (definitely not optional here-it's too delicious to skip), sliced asparagus, sliced snap peas, tomato paste or sauce, chopped basil and thyme, a little salt and olive oil. Arrange a little bit of the vegetable mixture over each crostini.