asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta

[Note: This recipe got fresh photos in 2019 and I’m glad it did.]

A couple weeks ago, I had a fantastic warm asparagus salad at a nearby restaurant, one I immediately swore I’d make at home. It had segments of white and green asparagus tossed with goat cheese and a tarragon and lemony mint vinaigrette and it was piled on a bed of red endive, my favorite. It was stunning. It was delicious. Alas, this is not it. How rude I am, right?

cook the pasta

After trying and failing to find all three elements — the green asparagus, white asparagus and the red endive — for the next two weeks, I gave up. Oh, and sure, you could use all green asparagus and regular pale endive, but you’ve met me, right? I’m a pain in the butt and without the visual, it was going to be no fun at all for me. It would not do.

asparagus the length of your pasta
mix goat cheese, olive oil
add pasta and asparagus
mix it up

But this did, for now at least. It was getting late and I still didn’t know what to make for dinner, only that I wanted it to take no time at all because sometimes you look so hard for dinner inspiration, you sap all of your cooking energy en route. This had six ingredients. It took perhaps fifteen minutes to make. And oh, it’s not as pretty and colorful, but it was a good, quick dinner, one I think is amenable to a zillion different variations and that trumps red endive any day.

asparagus, goat cheese, and lemon pasta

One year ago: Mushroom Strudel
Two years ago: Homemade Oreos

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Lemon Pasta

As it turns out, goat cheese makes a really great quick, creamy pasta sauce. And whether you blanch your pasta with asparagus or you swap in fava beans or string beans or seriously, you name it. If you’re not into tarragon, this is wonderful with other herbs including mint, chives, basil, parsley, or a mix of the above.

  • 1 pound spiral-shaped pasta
  • 1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon plus more for garnish
  • 1 5- to 5 1/2-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese (the pre-crumbled stuff will not melt as well)
  • Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)

Cook your pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until it is almost tender, or about three minutes shy of what the package suggests. Add asparagus and cook until firm-tender, another two to three minutes. Drain both pasta and asparagus together, reserving one cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, combine olive oil, lemon peel, tarragon and cheese in a large bowl, breaking up the goat cheese as you put it in. Add hot pasta and asparagus to bowl, along with a couple slashes of the pasta water. Toss until smoothly combined, adding more pasta water if needed. Season generously with salt and pepper, and lemon juice if you feel it needs a little extra kick. (We did.)

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455 comments on asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta

  1. Kristen

    Mmm. That looks like some nice artisanal pasta you have there. Do you favor one (dried) pasta brand over another? I just found a new kind in the supermarket today: Delallo – but I haven’t tried it yet. The label says it’s made in Italy AND it’s “Made with bronze plates”…I wonder what the heck that means!!!

    1. Carrie

      Eight years later – “made with bronze die” means that it’s made with extruded and shaped with a traditional cut bronze die. The pasta has a rougher surface texture and holds or “grabs” more sauce. More modern pasta uses a Teflon coated die to extrude and shape the pasta faster as it catches less on the die. The pasta has a smoother surface and won’t hold or grab as much sauce. Some people worry about the chemicals in Teflon, some like anything marked as being “artisanal” or “traditional” and some people care about how much sauce clings to the pasta versus puddling at the bottom of the bowl.

  2. wow, you have been sharing a brain with me this week!(maybe it’s a pregnancy thing) I love anything with goat cheese and between this and the broccoli slaw, OMG! I want them both, now! I can’t wait to try them.


  3. oh how I wish I had any of those ingredients in the fridge right now. I guess it’ll have to wait until next weekend when I get to the farmers market for some goodies. Yum!

  4. Easy pastas are always on my weekly menu’s. This looks like a great one to try…especially since I’m a little obsessed with goat cheese.

    1. Caitlin

      So good! I used thyme instead of tarragon, and served with fresh cracked pepper. Excited to try tarragon next time.

  5. I do something very similar on those cold wet dreary rainy spring days, slightly under cooking the pasta, mix everything together, add in a little scamorza, and put it all in a buttered baking dish, top with a little more scamorza and bake until the cheese is bubbly. Usually will serve with homemade tomato basil soup. Pure heaven.

  6. Whoa…I’ll have to try this. Similar to my breakfast–a toasted baguette with sauteeed mushrooms/asparagus/garlic with a sprinkling of lemon zest and a poached egg on top. YUM!

  7. Rhonda

    My husband wants to come live with you. He loves asparagus, I don’t. So I will have to make this for him when I want something. The markets here have both kinds in abundance. Need to figure out how to freeze it.

  8. Sorry that I’ve been an absent commenter; I just finished up my law school exams and am finally getting around to my google reader. And, then, then I stumbled upon this fabulous looking dish. What a great dish to find right after exams (when I have time to make it). This pasta looks AMAZING. And I’m just loving the use of asparagus. Fabulous!

  9. chocolateaddict

    goat cheese… drooools.
    but seriously, I’m considering makign this for dinner tomorrow. i might switch asparagus for just plain green beans.

  10. Eddie C.

    @Kristen “it’s “Made with bronze plates”…I wonder what the heck that means!!!”

    Lemmie see if I remember my Good Eats. Industrial pasta extruders are run at a high speed in the name of efficiency, so the die that they use is teflon-coated, else the semolina would etch the metal and the die would have to be changed far too often. Problem with that is that it gives the pasta a slick finish. A bronze die on the extruder means it has to be run much more slowly, but it gives it a rough finish that holds on to sauces much better.

    This is only what I’ve heard, I haven’t run any experiments myself.

    1. deb

      cole — Are you asking for me or for you? If for you, you should do whatever your doctor suggests and that you are personally comfortable with. I won’t be veering into the extraordinarily prickly topic of pregnancy eating on this site. If for me, however, I look for a) pasteurized goat cheese (most are, not hard to find) or that b) that it is used in a steaming hot dish.

      Amy — Indeed. Alex added proscuitto to his!

  11. Glitzer

    This looks so goooooood! This reminds me couple weeks back we made a similar pasta, with asparagus, feta, and sun dried tomatoes! Love the idea of adding lemon – so refreshing!

  12. In Washington state, we have loads of perfect asparagus right now, and I’ve got a bunch in my fridge, just waiting. And lo! I have goat cheese, too! What a beautiful site you have.

  13. Diane

    This looks soooo good. My favorite restaurant ever serves a pasta with smoked salmon and asparagus in an orange cream sauce. I think you need to figure out how to recreate that pasta. For all of us!

  14. Oh this looks gooooood! And like someone else said, perfect timing because I already have all the ingredients and was wondering what to do with my asparagus.

  15. samarahuel

    Yummy! My husband has a quirk of disliking cold pasta salad (and potato salad), but this looks like something we’d both enjoy very much! Fairly easy and cheap meal, too! Thanks!

  16. Wow, that looks yummy. I love Pasta. I love asparagus and I love goat cheese. Sounds like the perfect dish for me.

    Thansk for sharing, Deb.

  17. Funny-I’ve been in Vienna the last five months, and there is no shortage to white asparagus, along with plenty of other vegetables and fruits I’ve never/rarely seen in the US. I saw and ate fresh lychees for the first time (at least, that’s what I think they were) yesterday. But white asparagus is a speciality here-all the Austrian places have white asparagus soup.

  18. Kristen

    @EddieC. That makes perfect sense! Thanks for the insight. The edges/surfaces of my pasta look rough (as do Smitten’s in her photo). I might have to rustle up the last of the asparagus from my raised bed and try to duplicate her dish.

  19. This recipe is perfect for me because I’ve just bought some asparagus and was short of ideas. Plus, goats’ cheese is my favourite. Luckliy, here in Berlin both types of asparagus are easily available. Thanks so much!

  20. hello smitten kitchen! i just moved to switzerland about a month ago and let me tell you: I’VE SEEN ENOUGH WHITE ASPARAGUS TO MAKE YOU GO CRAZY!! sorry you can’t find it in nyc! i never would have imagined!

    i think i’m going to make your asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta tonight…with GREEN asparagus. looks delish, thanks for sharing!

  21. It’s a shame you couldn’t replicate the colour, but the flavour sounds superb. I’ll have to remember this one for spring. It’s handy to know that goats cheese makes a good creamy sauce too.

  22. This looks delicious. I made something similar last week but with gnocchi, peas and corn. Adding goat cheese to hot pasta equals instant cream sauce but without all the work. Love it.

  23. Natalie

    This is funny – we did our big grocery trip for the week yesterday, and this is what my husband had planned for dinner when we got home. We even found local (!) asparagus, which was very tender and tasty. We used penne, because for some odd reason we had about 4 bags of it in our tiny pantry.

    Hub added extra lemon, too. I was surprised at how quickly he fixed this – usually the first time he makes a recipe it takes longer than you would expect. I barely had time to check my email!

    It was delicious, but then it’s hard to go wrong with asparagus, goat cheese, and lemon. Mmmmmm.

  24. I am in LOVE with this recipe! And your photos are amazing. I work with Chavrie goat cheese and this will be a hit amongst the goat cheese lovers! I will be sharing this one. Thanks for a great post!

  25. You may think this wasn’t eye-catching, but my eyes literally popped out of my head when I saw the photo at the top. First time I’ve ever had a reaction like that to a photo… thanks for the recipe!

  26. Julia

    This looks delicious – I love goat cheese! – buy my boyfriend (who shares my kitchen) hates anything lemon. It’s so sad, but what can you do? Any suggestions to add some different flavors since I have to 86 the lemon? Thanks!

  27. Carson

    It’s what’s for dinner…especially since our neighbor brought us some home-grown asparagus yesterday. And I picked the last of the Meyer lemons this morning.

  28. On the heels of the broccoli slaw, could this dish be the next in a trend? Namely: Taking some combination of delicious ingredients and tossing together with some kind of tangy, creamy-but-light dressing. Whether it’s your pregnancy cravings or your impeccable good taste that’s to blame, all this slaw and salad yuminess is fantastic!

  29. KatyaCookie

    Katya~~~~~> running to her local farm market for some fresh picked asparagus, then over to B.J.’s for a log of goat cheese. What a brilliant combination. Once again, I am in awe of your culinary talents and imagination. THANK YOU, you are a true gem :o)

  30. Amy

    My asparagus bed is still too young to harvest from (next year! If the slugs don’t wipe it out completely), but I might just have to buy some for this. Looks yummy.

  31. Meegan

    The quick weeknight pasta dish of the season is so vital. All winter my go to dish was whole wheat spirals with chicken Italian sausage and sauteed greens. This one sounds great for spring.

  32. Frances

    This may be blasphemy, but any suggestions on what cheese to use if one cannot eat goat cheese? Would marscapone be too sweet? Thank you.

  33. deb

    Goat cheese substitutions: Lots of people asking! So, I’m a little stumped, only because there are not a whole lot of cheeses that when hit with hot pasta and a little steaming water become sauce-like. The goat cheese is really central here. However, you might try this with mascarpone, some crème fraîche, possibly cream cheese (just a thought, I at least know it melts well) or more classically, a good fresh ricotta. They’ll be different dishes, but no reason you can’t tweak them to make them work.

    michaela — That artichoke pasta looks right up my alley, thanks!

  34. Mickey

    Well crumbled (food processed) feta melts well and creates a creamy tangy sauce for pasta too.

    Also congrats on the Entertainment Weekly mention for Smitten Kitchen!

  35. anna

    fabulous! tonights dinner is SOLVED.
    on a more wintery comfort food note…have you tried the goat cheese mac n cheese with caramelized shallots that bon appetit had this winter? obsessed.

  36. Oh Deb! I love you – just love you. Finally had to comment. From wedding cakes to it’s-almost-3pm-and-I-still-have-no-idea-what-to-cook-for-dinner-but-I-want-it-to-taste-good-and-be-easy, you are always there for me. And now, watching you navigate the pregnancy food issues with the same clarity as you navigate eating healthy vs dieting issues, I love you even more. Dinner tonight is now checked off my list of things to worry about, yet again. Thanks.

  37. Jocelyn

    Fabulous! I added halved cherry tomatoes, substituted basil and parsley for tarragon, and used sundried tomato and basil goat cheese. I served it with leftover roasted chicken to round it out. Everyone loved it for dinner tonight!

  38. Just in time! I needed a new asparagus recipe for tonight.Last week I made steamed asparagus, then sauteed it with olive oil, orange zest and oregano. Was delish with a crisp white wine (Gruner Veltliner).

  39. Gay B

    I just made this for dinner. Perfect week night dinner. My husband’s response: This is a keeper. We did end up adding lemon juice at the end. Just wonderful!

  40. I just wanted to pass along, in case you ever find yourself in search of all the ingredients for the asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta that Agata and Valentina, on the UES, ALWAYS has both kinds of asapargus. Yes, out of season, they are exorbitantly overpriced, but what else is new, right? Glad that you are enjoying the new apartment and congrats on the addition to the family.

  41. Meg

    The first post of yours I read was where you announced you were pregnant. Since I am too (about a month ahead of you) I decided you might be making food that appeals to me right now.
    I will be making this pasta tonight, my mouth was watering just looking at the photo.
    I just need to wait until I have room after eating (another) piece of almond raspberry layer cake.
    Thanks for the great recipes, and I’ll be blaming you when my Dr weighs me at my prenatal appt this week, lol.

  42. Baleen

    I wanted to comment on your broccoli slaw. May I suggest next time you make it to add some crunchy bacon bits. The salty bacon takes it to another place entirely!

  43. Julia

    First off, I just recently discovered your site and I love it! Second, I’m eating a bowl of goat cheesy asparagus pasta goodness right now. I used those big, fat purple asparagus that are in season right now in Indiana. I didn’t realize goat cheese made such great creamy pasta sauce. Gives me a whole new reason to always have some in the refrigerator. Mmmm.

  44. I tried this for dinner tonight. I made it with spaghettini, and added some red bell peppers along with the asparagus. The peppers definitely seemed to add that extra touch of color! I think spaghettini was the wrong pasta for it, though. The sauce got spread out over too much surface area.

    The recipe was easy enough that I forgave it, but I wish I’d had a more appropriate pasta in the house.

  45. What a wonderful recipe! Being that asparagus is now in season, it came in quite handy. The pictures are excellent and add value to the recipe contents. Thank you again.

  46. so you totally inspired me with my dinner for tonight! it’s not exactly the same, but close – it’s up on my blog.
    i recently fell back in love with goat cheese, and it was yuuuummy with asparagus.

  47. Myesha

    I just tried goat cheese for the first time a couple months ago.(I know, why am I not in jail?) and the first thing I made with it was a quick pasta sauce after seeing it on a couple shows. WOW! It was amazing. It is so easy and just amazing.

  48. JC

    Made it for dinner last night! We used fresh linguine and added sliced grilled chicken breast. Outstanding! Really light and refreshing despite being a cream sauce. My husband really liked the change from garlic infused sauce.

  49. Maria

    I pulled this together last night and it was amazingly easy and delicious! I’m hoping the flavors are even better when I have the leftovers for lunch today :)

  50. Natalie

    I made this for dinner last night…well, with a few small tweaks (my grocery store was out of asparagus…WHAT?). The dinner was delicious. Thanks for this simple and tasty recipe!

  51. This recipe is total food porn. Unfortunately I don’t really like asparagus all that much… I know, I’m ashamed just to admit it. But I can’t help it! It’s just not my fave vegetable. Regardless, I think I might make this anyways. Everytime I walk past the farmers selling asparagus at the market, I die a little because I don’t ever buy any. Perhaps this will bring me closure =) Love you, Love the site, Love the recipes. xoxo

  52. Gracie B.

    I made this last night. So Yummy! I had bought asparagus at the Farmers Market Saturday and had just discovered the best goat cheese at Whole Foods last week, so I was thrilled to see this recipe.

    I loved this. Such a great easy dinner.

  53. JC

    Oops! NOT fresh linguine, sorry! Just reread my comment. We used fresh FETTUCINE because it looked great, and my husband really likes fettucine alfredo. This was a great twist on that dish.

  54. You win the supergenius award again, my darling! And the addition of just a few pieces of chopped prosciutto made the whole family very very happy! Love that it’s so EASY, too. I would follow your 2-hour directions like your personal slave, but this easy-peasy one is a busy gal’s DREAM.

  55. Sometimes I have a problem with pasta because it’s so, well, dense. I love the idea of it but there are so many times that I make it and just find it heavy and … I don’t know, compartmentalized (the flavors don’t seem to meld, I guess because the pasta itself is so big). But I love the idea of adding lemon — it will lighten things up, wake up the palate, add brightness. Plus, it’s hard to go wrong with asparagus at this time of year. Thanks for the idea!

  56. I love using goat cheese. I use it in place of heavy cream most of the time. I’m not sure why I feel less guilty about that?! Anyway – looks delicious.

  57. This looks amazing. But I thought I wasn’t allowed goat cheese while pregnant. AM I??? Because if I am and I’ve been missing out on it all of this time I’m certainly going to go and buy a huge log of it tonight and make up for lost time!

    1. deb

      Jules — I addressed the goat cheese thing in comment #36. I knew the question was coming, but as I mentioned, I steer very clear of making preggo diet suggestions!

  58. I made this for dinner last night, because after reading the post yesterday, I could barely make it through the rest of the work day… I just kept thinking Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. And then I would look at a spreadsheet, and then more mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…. I a handful of sundried tomatoes to mine… and I think I might add pine nuts next time. I just adore pine nuts and goat cheese together. And I bet this would be amazing with spinach instead of asparagus… It was delectable. My boyfriend ate it, and he doesn’t even really dig goat cheese. Thanks for the perfect recipe for a quick, no hassle dinner!

  59. kelly

    i can always find red endive at trader joes, in a package with one red and two greens. but i’m on the west coast….coincidentally, their goat cheese logs are like half the price of other stores, so there ya go. this is my favorite easy pasta sauce. i interchange any herbs i have, and add butter and parmesan, but i guess i don’t have to add the butter? looks great without it!

  60. tara

    this recipe reminds me of another of my favorites, which leads to two suggestions for this recipe:

    first, creme fraiche would be a great substitute for the goat cheese!

    and second, i think this would be better with meyer lemons if you can get them (sweeter, overall better flavor)

  61. Kathleen

    Goat cheese is generally a little strong for me but I have been dreaming of this pasta, thinking of how it looks (creamy, delicious), all day long-seriously, it’s been popping into my thoughts. I think I have no choice but to make it. I have liked goat cheese in a tart but not straight so maybe it will work with all of the other elements. OMG this is total food porn like another poster mentioned.

    I want to know what restaurant this was served at, it sounds absolutely divine.

  62. marewood

    I found another brand of pasta “copppola” that referred the the bronze plates also. Whatever they are, the pasta has rough edges that held the cheese and herbs wonderfully. Thanks – so many ways to vary the recipe with whatever I have in the frig.

  63. I made this dish tonight, and would just like to say that there was way too much pasta/asparagus for the amt. of sauce. I have a whole pyrex bowl full of 1/2 the pasta/asparagus that didn’t get any sauce. I’d recommend cutting the asparagus/pasta qty. in half or doubling the sauce.

  64. Deb (Not the Author – but wants to be her asst. Editor)

    Deb – I think I just fell in love with goat cheese on pasta! So light and refreshing and the asparagus were cooked perfectly just boiling for 3 minutes.

    AMAZING meal.

    thank you.

  65. emilie

    Made this last night, and it was DELICIOUS! Amped up the veg by adding zucchini matchsticks, did half whole wheat pasta/half regular pasta, and added a tablespoon of toasted pine nuts just before eating. Complimented the lemon and goat cheese flavors beautifully!! Thanks for the inspiration, Deb!

  66. Valerie

    OMG!!! This was the best pasta dish ever. So easy! I heated up some precooked chicken that I had and tossed that in to up the protein count! Other than that I made it as directed. Amazing. Thanks for the inspiration.

  67. Kathleen

    Alright just made it. I posted earlier that I generally do not like goat cheese but this was amazing. The tartness was completely cut by the lemon and other elements and it was just perfect. I actually decided to roast the asparagus and left it in a 200 degree oven for it to stay warm and it shriveled up so that part of the dish was sadly non-existent. I used chopped parsley as well and decided to heat the olive oil in a pan with 2 cloves of chopped garlic. I intend to make this again but cook the asparagus as stated above because I really couldn’t even taste it. My daughter loved it too but I made the goat cheese hating hubby something else.

  68. Britta

    I made this last night for my Italian friend. I was extremely flattered when he told me this is the first dish in the US that has met his Italian pasta standards, and he noted that it’s very similar to what you would find over there. Of course I am ecstatic! Thank you so much for an incredible recipe!

  69. I got asparagus in my organic box last week, and ended making a pasta dish, too (I went with one in Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian cooking for everyone”, with some frozen peas and edamame thrown in for good measure). I’ll keep this recipe in mind for my next lot of asparagus.

  70. Gretchen

    I have definitely had a version of this using ricotta and basil – seriously yummy! There might have been some parmesan and black pepper in there too. I’d add halved grape or cherry tomatoes to this in a heartbeat, and very possibly some walnuts or pine nuts.

  71. Yum! I read this recipe and immediately got up from the computer and headed to the corner market! They did not have tarragon, but I improvised and bought the goat cheese covered in herbs and tossed in some fresh mint growing on my fire escape. Made enough for leftovers, but ate the whole bowl in one sitting! Was exactly what I was in the mood for!

  72. Abby

    Made this for dinner last night. It’s definitely a keeper. One pot and one bowl, no more time than to cook the pasta. And delicious!

  73. Marne

    Hey Deb, I made the pasta the other night to go with some left over barbeque!!!I was beside myself,because I adore goat cheese..and what could be better than asparagus,tarragon,and lemon zest. I had friends over to share in the feast,and we were all disappointed:(. I will probably not try this one again. Perhaps I didn’t season it correctly,but even with additional salt and just fell flat. Oh well, I am going to eat the leftovers..and try and figure out what went wrong. Just LOVE your site..I am a huge fan..I am so excited for your coming bundle of joy!

  74. Martina

    I made this last night for dinner. 4 ingredient meals have got to be my favorite.

    Everyone was blown away that such a simple dish could be so tasty!

    I served grilled zucchini and cherry tomatoes on the side (with olive oil and balsamic) and we ended up combining the two for another level of flavor.

    I’m really looking forward to having the little leftovers i have for lunch!

  75. Brit

    This sounds amazing, but it’d just be for me, so that would be a ton of leftovers. Should I try to cut down the recipe, or do the leftovers reheat well? And if I do make the whole recipe, should I combine everything, or keep them separated so the pasta and sauce can be reheated separately?

    1. deb

      I would cut down the recipe. I did not think the leftovers heated especially well.

      Laura — I intentionally did not give a cooking time as not all pastas, even of the same shape, finish at the same time — it is much better for people to tailor the boiling time to the pasta they have on hand.

  76. RB

    Am I the only one who noticed that this recipe came DIRECTLY out of the June 2009 issue of Bon Appetit??? Adapted? It’s the exact same recipe, right down to the advice that the pre-crumbled stuff will not melt as well. It’s particulary funny that you mention that it took perhaps fifteen minutes to make, given that the recipe comes from an article titled “15 Dishes in 15 Minutes.” Wow.

  77. Amanda

    Since we’re on the topic of cheese, have you been to the East Village Cheese Shop? It is located on 3rd Ave between 9th and 10th Street on the west side of the street. They are AMAZING! They have practically any cheese you could want and it’s incredibly cheap. The only down side is that you have to buy 1/2 lb min but when it’s $3.99 a lb, it’s not really a problem.

  78. Nephele

    This was delicious, Deb. As for leftovers, I noted you found they didn’t reheat well, so instead I turned my extras into a cold pasta salad the next day. Just added some leftover roasted chicken, a bunch of grape tomatoes, and a touch more lemon juice and olive oil to loosen things up a bit. Yum!

  79. kcsnedah

    So I was stuck for what to make as a side for Memorial Day BBQ (wanted to do the broccoli slaw but my sis’ family can’t eat raw or blanched broccoli) and I saw this. A little hesitant because my family is exactly that kind that will say “Eeeeeeew, Goat cheese? Gross!” I have such a hard time getting them to try stuff I know they will love…NO MORE!

    After making this pasta (I’m serving it room temp as a salad) I know they’ll at least trust me with asparagus and goat cheese! This is ridiculously delicious, even with the minor changes I had to make. Didn’t have tarragon, so I used dried dill. Also added some finely diced red onion and more lemon than you called for. Holy crap this stuff is good!

    If goat cheese weren’t so expensive around here (broke college student) I’d be making this every week with a bit of grilled chicken or salmon. Thank you!!

  80. Ace

    just made this one yesterday for a cookout and substituted basil for the tarragon since that was all i had on hand, it was an instant major hit! between 5 people there was maybe a scoop of pasta left over at the end of the day. so delicious and so easy! thanks again your recipes never fail!

  81. wendy

    I too love goat cheese as a creamy-tangy pasta sauce. I have left over grilled asparagus from last night and a bit of left over grilled salmon. I think this is dinner tonight.

  82. Jill

    Soooo good :) I made it this weekend. I didn’t have enough asparagus, so I just blanched a little escarole as well in the pasta water (for a little less time than the asparagus). It was very good!

  83. Amanda

    I’ve been making something pretty similar this winter but with swiss chard (will turn it all pink) or spinach and garlic rather than lemon, asparagus and tarragon. I started with a recipe from somewhere but have no idea where as we sort of wing it with what is around now that I’m comfortable the goat cheese will make a good sauce.

    I agree that the leftovers are not so hot – sort of separates and you get an oily dish. I did stretch the first round of it with sauteed zucchini and oven roasted grape tomatoes and threw the whole thing in the skillet to warm it up. Worked pretty well but I was happier with the texture the first time.

    I’m imagining all sorts of summer variations now!

  84. Sarah P

    My boyfriend sent me a link to a story in the Times online about 50 of the best food blogs last week and so I stumbled upon yours. This was the first recipe I made and it was delightful from the first bite to the last. You can get asparagus at roadside stands everywhere in Michigan right now, so I’ve been searching for new asparagus recipes. Thank you for this one. I sighed when I took the first bite :)

    I will be making the butternut squash galette and the key lime meltaways tomorrow.

    I love to cook but I’ve been feeling a bit “blah” lately in the kitchen, for lack of a better word. Your photos, your writing and your recipes have inspired me and made me feel excited about cooking again.


  85. Leela

    Deb, this recipe worked out perfectly I added squash (acorn, italian, and yellow) and tomatoes for more color and it was so fresh and spring!

  86. This is absolutely dinner tomorrow night. 4 of my favorite things in the whole world – pasta, lemon, goat cheese, and asparagus – all in the same place. It doesn’t get much better than that.

  87. This was wonderful! I served it to my friend, who is 18 weeks along, last night. I added zucchini and yellow squash and I grilled all the veggies instead of cooking them with the pasta. The grilled veggies turned it sort of a strange gray color, but the flavor was outstanding. Thanks!

  88. Travis

    Made the dish for the wife and I for our date night. First time eating goat cheese… I am now a convert. LOL

    Great Recipe and wonderful rsite. Smitten Kitchen is my new homepage.

  89. wjb

    We just finished eating this. Wow. Just wonderful, and so easy. I did steam the asparagus separately for about 3 minutes rather than cooking it along with the pasta. I used a little of the asparagus cooking water instead of pasta water to thin the dish. Also used whole wheat fusilli. I agree about adding fresh lemon juice to the finished dish. Really brightens everything.

  90. just jane

    I made this dish for several of my goat cheese loving friends and we all LOVED IT!
    Next time however I will roast or grill the asparagus for another flavor depth.
    Love your blog thanks for the wonderful recipes.

  91. Ashby

    This is delicious. We made it a few days ago. My womb, too, is currently inhabited by a little alien with opinionated food tastes, and anything with TOO much flavor hasn’t been working for me lately. So I found this to be perfect – it was fresh and light and flavorful, but simply so, and soooooo easy to make. And because pregnancy has apparently made me allergic to doing dishes, my husband appreciated the fact that it only used 2 pots!

    I made this again yesterday with swiss chard instead of asparagus, and sauteed sliced garlic, and it was delicious as well.

  92. Carolyn

    I made this last night, after a week of drooling over the recipe. I must say that I liked the flavor a lot, but I wish I had saved the pasta water for a little bit longer. I found that after it was the perfect consistency, I plated it and it all of a sudden needed more liquid. The flavors were awesome though, thank you for the great recipe!!

  93. Fred

    I’m making this for a work potluck tomorrow, and a going away potluck on Friday night. I’ve got to use Corn pasta, due to the Wheat Allergies in both groups. My kitchen is overwhelmed with the stuff to make this right now.

  94. Meghan

    This should be filed under *stinkin’ easy, cheap, quick, and AMAZING.”

    I had it on the brain all day and came home, made a salad and pasta. My husband isn’t home and I have already finished my dinner. I couldn’t wait. It was too tempting. This was just fantastic.

  95. Courtney

    Just made this, and it was AMAZING. We tweaked the basic recipe – used whole wheat pasta, and thyme instead of tarragon (husband’s not a fan). Added extra goat cheese (regular and some garlic herb), sauteed mushrooms, and peas. I’m also pregnant – due the same time as you – and always looking for more protein, so we added grilled chicken, too. Still the same basic idea/technique and it was delicious! My husband commented that he was “going to eat so much, it was going to be a mistake.” I take that as a compliment.

    Oh, and this made a TON. I’m hoping it’s as good cold/leftover . . .

  96. Jill

    I’ve had twice now with whatever was coming out of my garden. First with asparagus and again last night with favas and a little basil (don’t have tarragon) and both times this was just wonderful! I can only find goat cheese at my supermarket in 4 oz containers so I just use that and a little less pasta and it comes out just fine. Thank you so much for posting this one!!!

  97. Kate

    This recipe is incredible. I’ve given it to my family and they enjoy it just as much as I do. First time I made it I couldn’t stop eating it! Thanks for passing it along!

  98. maria

    Hi. I’m trying to get into cooking…very slowly. Would love to make this sometime soon, as it looks dee-licious, but where in NYC would I find FRESH goat cheese? I’ve only seen the crumbled kind in the grocery stores.

    1. deb

      Really? Even the Gristedes by my old apartment sold logs of soft chevre in the cheese section. But for super-fresh stuff, go to the Greenmarkets around the city.

  99. Michelle

    OHMYGOD! Haven’t even finished dinner but had to post! This was incredibly easy, thankfully quick, and ridiculously inexpensive to make. It tastes so fresh and light, but the goat cheese (which is, admittedly, not one of my favorites… I think it’s a texture thing) made it rich and creamy without being too heavy. The perfect meal for the hot, humid, heavy weather we’ve been having in the NYC/Jersey area lately.
    Thanks for the incredible recipe Deb! I’ll be sure to remake for friends and family (and obviously give you credit)!!!!

  100. kcsnedah

    I just want to let you know that I make this at least once a week. I am a poor college student, yet I will still spend $4 on a 6 oz. log of goat cheese at wal-mart (which I hate) and $4.00/lb for asparagus to make this.



  101. kcsnedah

    Michelle: I honestly like t cold. I use dill instead of tarragon and add a bit of red onion and it is a FANTASTIC cold salad. Trust me. Try it.

  102. Michelle

    Perfect! I’d rather eat it cold than reheat and risk separation. I’ll probably confirm your recommendation as I pick at it for the next hour before popping it into the fridge. Thanks!!!

  103. Sarah

    Just made this and it was wonderful! Needed it to be a main course for a vegetarian, so I used high-protein wheat pasta and added in some toasted almonds for another protein boost. So delicious and satisfying. Thanks for the recipe!

  104. Johnnie

    I just made this for lunch, and it was wonderful! It is very inexpensive to make, and was super easy for a quick lunch break. I did make one change to the recipe: I used lemon fettucine instead, and it was great! I topped it with some fresh Alaskan salmon (I’m Alaskan) and the flavors really complimented the fish. For a grad student on a budget, this was cheap tastiness!

  105. laura

    I made this with orzo for a giant birthday party for my grad school program last weekend. It was a HUGE hit!! I made enough to feed a small army and by the end of the night, there was nothing left. I will definitely be making this again- it is easy, delicious and super cheap and quick to throw together- perfect for students!!

  106. Joelle

    I just looked back at this…I’ve been making it all summer, and it’s a favorite! I’d forgotten that it’s not penne, green beans, herbs de provence…I get amazing chevre from farmer’s market, and use whatever is in season for veges…beans happen to have a long season (last week I made it with purple snake beans, but I could even see it with broccoli during the winter). It does not seem to reheat well…the noodles get soggy and the cheese absorbs in…but it scales to 1-2 person meals well. I use lots of lemon.

    Thanks for a keeper!

  107. This was delish! I’m a college student on a budget but trying to eat well (no Ramen for me, thanks!) The goat cheese was a little pricey for my budget but it was my single splurge and I’m using it in two recipes. This pasta is fantastic. I made mine with green beans and pine nuts :D

  108. procrastination

    Like Hannahbelle I’m an impoverished student and get frustrated with how many ingredients most recipes require when the takeout option is often cheaper. This is just a heavenly recipe so thank you very much – I can’t wait to make some additions; prosciutto, pinenuts – i see so many variations for this fail safe yet yummy and impressive meal. I’m getting obsessed with your website. Cheesecake brownies are on my lust list….

  109. Veggiesaurus

    This is a yummy and fairly fast pasta dish. I truly enjoyed the combined flavors of the lemon and goat cheese. Unfortunately, my significant other detests goat cheese. So I decided to experiment with ricotta (and left the other ingredients the same). The result was a little mediocre. I think if you substitute a less flavorful cheese (like ricotta), additional flavor needs to be added. Next time I will try this with ricotta and add some garlic and maybe substitute broccoli for the asparagus. Overall, the original recipe is quite yummy. It does make a huge quantity of pasta, so you might consider cutting the recipe in half.

  110. Emily D

    Yum, I made this dish last night and it was a hit! I added 3 cloves of garlic and sun dried tomatoes to the goat cheese mix, then I sauteed some chicken and mushrooms. I followed the rest of the recipe exactly, and it was fantastic! Definitely on my list of awesome meals! Thanks so much.

  111. JOYCE

    I”m a very busy ob/gyn and don’t cook often because of time involved and I’m always having to run to the hospital, but preparing this recipe took no longer than the time it took to cook the pasta. The addition of tarragon and the lemon made for a light and refreshing flavor-didn’t know that goat cheese would be so good on pasta. This is a recipe to keep

  112. Mandy

    Snowed in and counld go to the store, so I made this for dinner…well a variation but it was good. Used spinach instead of asparagus and added shrimp. I didn’t have Tarragon so I subsituted Marjoram. I would make this again for sure! Easy, quick and cheap.

  113. Serena

    Deb – I’ve made this twice now and both times it was great. Definitely agree with your comments that lemon juice brightens it up considerably (and gives the taste a bit more dimension) & that the leftovers are not wonderful (the goat cheese dries out a bit…). I’ll have to try some of the others’ suggestions to serve the leftovers cold and loosen them up with a bit of lemon juice.

  114. Kate

    Made this the other night. It was perfect to brighten up my mood with this dreary cold winter weather we’re STILL having.

    I added a handful of toasted pine nuts which I love, and think it’s the easiest, fastest dinner I’ve had in a while. Not to mention how perfect it tasted.

  115. I’m so excited…a friend and I are going to be making this tonight for dinner. Both huge goat cheese fans (I could eat it on just about anything!) I will post later with the results, but I’m guessing it will only be about satisfied full bellies:)

  116. Okay, so I made the pasta last night and it was wonderful. If I had to make any changes I wouldn’t have used as much lemon. I used quite a bit of zest and a half of lemon. It was very good, but if I had to make some changes it would be to use a little less. I did grate some romano cheese on top which was a nice addition!

  117. Mels

    This looks so delicious!! My favorite things (pasta and goat cheese!) Can’t wait to make it this week with some chicken on the side :)

  118. Bobanda

    This with rice pasta makes oh so yummy gluten free dish! Thanks – I love goat cheese and pasta but didn’t realize I should use log instead of crumble!

  119. Julie

    Yum! My husband and I made this tonight, and it was delicious. He’s a committed carnivore, so we added a few ounces of chopped prosciutto — but he’s gradually coming around on vegetables, so I was happy to find another recipe with asparagus (one of my favorites) that he also enjoyed. With the salty prosciutto as a major component of the dish, I found I didn’t need the extra flavor kick of lemon juice, so I left it out, but maybe I’ll try it next time. I’m a musician and I often have rehearsals that go late into the evening, which means that I often start cooking dinner around 10 p.m., so I’m always on the lookout for fast meals. This went together absolutely in minutes. It’s definitely a keeper.

  120. Sarah

    I made this but was a little disappointed. I only had a 4 oz log of goat cheese so I used less pasta, but I found the dish to be too dry and not creamy at all. It had a good flavor – asparagus+lemon is great. I also think I undersalted it.

  121. Deidre

    I made this just now using local asparagus. It was so tasty and really easy to make! Thanks for sharing another hit, Deb!

  122. jenniegirl

    I made this tonight, and didn’t feel like it had much oomph…I ended up adding some homemade tomato-basil sauce and some sliced mango jalepeno chicken sausages that I got at the farmer’s market to it all. We ate at ten pm (when will I ever learn to get dinner on the table!) in our jammies parked in front of Neflix, but it was a nice not-so-spring kind of dinner for a freezing cold rainy night in MAY!

    Iam 11 and i LOVE it.

  124. Ally in AZ

    Deb, this recipe is absolutely incredible, and couldn’t be any easier! I’m still eating it as I’m writing this, and will quickly be going back for seconds. Got a little carried away with the asparagus at the farmer’s market, so will be trying your asparagus pancetta hash tomorrow night. Thank you for sharing!

  125. Amy Wisner

    AMAZING! I didn’t have goat cheese, I didn’t have tarragon, I didn’t want to go to the store. So I used 1/2 low fat cream cheese & 1/2 good pecorino romano plus fresh basil. May I say it again, AMAZING! And oh, so easy.

  126. I made this during vacation at the Jersey Shore and at the mercy of ingredients from the ACME. I used broccoli because it was organic. The pasta was delicious, and I love the versatility of such a dish. Thanks!

  127. Anna

    I keep coming back to this incredible recipe, it’s insanely delicious and so fast and easy to make; my housemate thought I hadn’t even eaten yet because I had licked my plate so clean. Thank you so much!

  128. eleonard

    Great flavor combinations. I think I made this in 20 minutes (including the 10 minutes for the pasta to cook)? I got inspired by Italy and served some some parmesan (with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and honey) and prosciutto before hand. We were stuff but happy. I’m thinking about adding sausage with fennel to the pasta next time or maybe smoked salmon. This makes two recipes that I’ve tried and two that I love.

  129. Cat

    Made this for the 2nd time. I used whole wheat egg noodles, green beans, herbed chevre, and threw in some grilled chicken. Delicious and easy!

  130. Beth

    I’ve made this dish a few times now and love it for it’s simplicity and flavour. To make the leftovers work a little better I save some of the pasta water and add it when I’m reheating on the stove.

  131. Wren

    @Kristen / Eddie
    Eddie nailed it. Bronze cut pastas hold onto sauce much better.

    They wear much faster, so for a pastamaker to choose them over stainless steel dies means there’s a love and investment.

    Personally, I don’t have a favorite brand, but I look for claims about bronze dies. Nobody really makes bronze die pasta in the US, and particularly fresh.

    I’ve never had a bag of bronze die pasta that wasn’t better than fresh pasta.

  132. Stacy

    This pasta is genius! I added a bit of crispy bacon, fried in olive oil, but otherwise followed the recipe. Delicious and super fast.

  133. Suzanne

    Loved this…delicious and so easy! I mixed in some grated asiago along with the goat cheese. Will definitely be making this one again!

  134. janice mitnick

    My sister for years has made a pasta/sundried tomato/pine nut dish with a goat cheese sauce. Her trick is to mash the goat cheese with a half cup or cup of the reserved pasta water; then add the rest of the sauce ingredients. It works like magic and you get goat cheese flavor throughout the pasta dish. See what you think. P.S. I’m new to your site and I really, really enjoy it. Thank you!!!! Janice

  135. kcsnedah

    Again, I will forever love the day I tried this pasta. It’s asparagus season in Colorado. Cheap, fresh, thin stalks. And I just calculated the nutritional info (without the olive oil) and it is actually not a terrible dish. Add in some super lean protein (shrimp or fish) and holy hell. BEST MEAL EVER.

    Not lying. Freaking love this.

  136. kathy in st louis

    Amanda, I made this last night with fresh parsley and mint instead of tarragon. Dill and basil are among other tasty substitutions you could make, too.

    So, as usual, I adapted to what I had on hand:
    – green beans instead of asparagus
    – locally-made whole-wheat cresta di gallo pasta
    – sad, old Meyer lemons I never did use in a glorious Shaker lemon pie

    Really, really good. Sprightly, light on its feet, yet toothsome and springy.

  137. This is the first (of very, very many wonderful) SK dishes that I’ve made that I didn’t love… I’m not sure why, because I do love all of the ingredients. I think I might like it without (or with much less) tarragon and more lemon, I’m not sure. Also, I am pregnant (and eating soft cheese *gasp* LOL) so maybe my taste buds are off. The flavors just didn’t work well together for me. I’m CLEARLY in the minority here, and it’s not going to stop me from making that awesome looking chocolate cake roll this weekend :)

  138. Harriet Herrera-Lambo

    Greetings from Amsterdam, the Netherlands – and hope you had a good Passover! I made your lemon pasta twice, also for my terrible 2’s toddler (eating is a battle!), and we both love it! To make it less tardy I add just a little dollup of honey to the mixture of goat cheese and lemon zest & juice. It works a treat, this time he completely finished his plate! Yippie! I made small strips of grilled chicken with it, the chicken had been marinating in lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning for about 20-30 minutes. Makes it more tender. Enjoy the site tremendously, keep it up!

  139. neecie

    Asparagus just came into my local farm stand. I made this tonight and it was divine! Next up, your best baked spinach, can’t wait to try it

  140. Kevin

    It’s asparagus season again, so I returned to this recipe. However, I think I stumbled upon a pretty good tweak. Using a vegetable peeler, I shaved the asparagus lengthwise in to noodle-like strands. I then cooked those first, then then removing them from the pot, cooked the noodles (for which I replaced the fusili with fettucine), and tossed everything together. I then garnished with the asparagus tips, which I had cut off before shaving the asparagus and cooked separately. I think it makes an already tasty dish a bit more elegant. It sort of looks like fettucini alfredo, but one bite and you know it’s something completely different.

  141. BP

    Made it yesterday, very easy! Just make sure to use good quality goat cheese – it can ruin the dish. Picked up a small random log of it at a Stop & Shop and the taste was not as good as it should’ve been! But I can’t wait to make it again.

  142. Liz L.

    So delicious and luxurious for such a quick and simple dish! The lemon definitely is necessary as it perks up all the flavors. Couldn’t resist taking Alex’s route of adding in some prosciutto. Yum! Having such a bright spring dish has made this dreary cold spring we’ve been having in Chicago just a little bit better.

  143. Hillary

    I made this dish last night and it was a very enjoyable and light spring pasta dish! I whisked a shallot in with the olive oil and lemon, and roasted a pint of cherry tomatoes and stirred them into the pasta. I liked how they added color as well as a sweetness in contrast to the tangy cheese. Much thanks for the inspiration, Deb!

  144. Christina

    I tried this last night and loved it! I decided to use whole wheat pasta, garlic herb goat cheese and purple asparsgus I bought at a local farmer’s market instead. I would highly recommend this recipe very easy, but tastes like it took a long time to make.
    Thanks Deb!

  145. Katy

    A. Maz. Ing. Made this last night and was so surprised at how quickly hunks of goat cheese turned into the most delightful pasta sauce – creamy yet still light, tangy, great with the subtle sweet and bitterness of the asparagus… Just delicious. Only problem was that we ate too much of it.

  146. My partner and I made this last night. We added lemon pepper chicken breasts and it was outstanding. Perfect summer-evening-out-on-the-back-deck kind of pasta. Thank you for this recipe!

  147. melanieintoronto

    Did it, loved it. Husband thought I was a `throw it together from the fridge`type of genius. I found it needed the extra lemon kick and quite a bit of pepper + some salt for my taste. To pretty it up a bit i did the 3 coloured pasta but no one looked at it for very long anyway….

  148. Taylor

    Made this for lunch today, but of course I had to add some Italian sausage so the boyfriend would eat it, and it came out excellent! I think the tarragon really brought out the flavors in the sausage, but I think this would also be a perfectly filling and delicious vegetarian entree as well.

    Thanks, Deb! I consult your blog pretty much religiously.

  149. Dana

    Made this tonight, so tasty. It opens up a bunch of ideas. Maybe next time I will add sauteed mushrooms and onions and substitute the tarragon for basil. I added grilled chicken as well. Great recipe – thanks!

  150. Tatiana

    I really don’t usually cook much of anything, but I typed in asparagus and goat cheese into a search engine, in effort to find a way to use up these ingredients, and it lead me to this very simple & quick recipe! I made it tonight, and it was enjoyed by all (even after being completely stuffed). I think this will make great comfort food too :)

  151. Thea

    We made this last night for dinner using an herb goat cheese. Delicious! Next time I make it I think I will saute some mushrooms to add into it for some extra flavor though! Thanks for your awesome site!

  152. Emily

    Just made this for the 3rd or 4th time–it’s become one of our staples. added cherry tomatoes. Awesome. This is my first time commenting, but this is my absolute fav cooking site. Thanks for all the wonderful recipes! I especially like the easy ones :)

  153. annie

    This was a saver! Nothing in the fridge but lots of asparagus. One change I made was to chop up proscuitto (I buy the ends from the deli, at half the price but more flavor b/c of the bigger fat chunks that were not cut away) and saute in evoo. I then added the cut asparagus to the proscuitto in the pot to continue cooking. Then I added all of that to the boiled pasta and cheese/lemon mixture. It added a great dimension to it. The lemon really livens up the dish.

  154. Alicia

    Made this for dinner tonight but added sliced baby bella mushrooms and instead of all regular goat cheese I used 1/2 garlic and herb goat cheese and 1/2 regular goat cheese…DELISH!

  155. Matt

    I made this last night but added chorizo sausage and sauted onions. I will definitely use variations of this recipe in the future.

  156. Morgan

    I love this recipe, and it’s been in heavy rotation since this past summer. Great for heating up for lunch the next day. Sometimesl, I take out the lemon and add a tablespoon or two of pesto to switch things up — amazing!

  157. We made this tonight, added mushrooms sautéed in butter. Next time I will add sun dried tomatos. What an excellent recipe. My 12 year old had 3 helpings! Thank you!

  158. Christy S.

    I made this the other day and didn’t have quite enough goat cheese so I added about 4oz cream cheese and it worked FABULOUSLY. I also added quite a bit of pepper just the step it up. Also, I used whole wheat pasta and thick woody asparagus. I put the asparagus in at 6min and pulled them both out at 12 min according to the box instructions.

    Also I ended up using the precrumbled goat cheese just because it was what I had on hand and it worked. And served it with some leftover balsamic rosemary chicken.

    Either way this is a FANTASTIC and simple recipe that my husband and friends loved.

  159. Alyssa M.

    Loved this recipe! I used broccoli in place of asparagus, since it’s what I had, and it still turned out great. I also added a little bit of greek yogurt to add a little extra creaminess. Great recipe!

  160. Christina

    Just made this and it was excellent! The best part is that it improves with each bite. I used extra goat cheese and quite a bit of lemon without the pasta water, and it was perfect. Love your site!

  161. Just made this last night after finding on Pintrest and wow it is amazing. I added chicken and squeezed a whole lemon and used about 8oz of goat cheese and added a tiny more amount of oil. I will make this again for sure!!!

  162. Alicia

    We didn’t have taragon, so added some balsamic vinegar to this after it was all mixed. Was great because it added that kick to the sweet goat cheese. So yummy!

  163. kristin

    I made this with extra goat cheese and added some chicken. Delish! Next time I might try it with some Boursin cheese…

  164. Michelle

    Okay, I’m not gonna lie. . .I literally just made this and as I was putting the finishing touches on this dish I really thought I wasn’t going to like it. I thought that this might be my first Smitten Kitchen flop, as I’ve made several recipes and couldn’t even begin to pick a favorite. I thought Deb might not be the culinary genius I proclaim her to be. Well, let me tell you. . .I stand corrected!! It was LOVE at first bite – It is absolutely delicious!!! I used Canola oil (I was out of Olive Oil) and just a small amount of tarragon. I’m already planning to add grilled chicken the next time I make it. I shall never doubt Smitten Kitchen again and Deb is the culinary goddess I have deemed her to be. All is right with the world!! *sigh*

  165. tracy

    made it a couple days ago — and had leftovers the past two days. all delicious! i added marinated sun dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts on top — both of which i think were key to making the dish super yummy. the tomatoes complimented the tartness of the lemons/goat cheese and the pine nuts were wonderful.

  166. sarah j.

    i made this tonight and it was perfect…delicious goat cheese, super fresh aparagus from a friend, and a glass of wine. and of course there were sweet little baby geese by the pond right outside the sliding glass door…hello, it’s spring! thank you, deb!

  167. I made this last night, but with fresh-from-the-market fiddleheads instead of asparagus. So. Delicious. I really love the idea of cooking vegetables with the pasta—it makes perfect sense, but somehow it never occurred to me before!

  168. Alison

    This was tasty, but there was way too much pasta in relation to the sauce. My pasta looked way less white and creamy than yours and that taste was pretty weak. I used about 5.75 oz of goat cheese, so I’m not sure why this was the case.

  169. Cary

    Just made this, substituted gluten free pasta, and added cherry tomatoes…it is so delicious! I love using goat cheese! I am always looking for meals that I can make and have lots of leftovers for the week, this is one dish I cannot wait to eat the leftovers!

  170. Jenny

    I was disappointed in this recipe. Something about the goat cheese becoming a sauce…it ceased to taste like delicious goat cheese and just tasted like a not-so-flavorful sauce. Lemon zest (plus juice) helped, as did some bacon, but this is not my favorite smitten kitchen recipe. Still love this blog to death.

  171. Dia

    I can’t believe how easy this was to make! I added fresh minced garlic and pepper to give it a little more flavor. Totally delicious and simple :)

  172. Karen

    I made this last night and it was delicious! To make it a little healthier I used whole grain pasta. I also added canned artichoke hearts which I chopped before adding. Thank you for a great recipe using goat cheese!

  173. Adele

    I pinned this months ago, and finally got around to making it last night. It really is delicious! More refreshing than I was expecting from a cheese and pasta meal (I guess lemon and tarragon will do that!). I had to supplement with a small amount of cream cheese, but didn’t feel the need to add lemon juice, and didn’t make any other changes (it was good before adding the cream cheese, too). Hooray! Delicious, easy meal that I can actually cook!

  174. Anne Sanchez

    I made it tonight and it was very good. I did add lemon juice at the end (maybe a tablespoon), and I also added crumbled bacon and red pepper flakes. Delish!

  175. This is already on our menu for the week because it sounds absolutely delicious. I’m thinking that a non-grassy Sauvignon Blanc will do well with these flavors. In other words, I’ll stick to a Napa or Sonoma version.

  176. Marny

    Really enjoyed this. Makes a great side dish, or with chicken or shrimp added, a great main dish. It tasted really light and delicious.

  177. Tay

    Hey Debi,

    I made this dish last night and it was incredible! I had never thought to make a sauce with goat cheese and this was great! Easy and fast too! Thank you!

  178. Julie

    Late to the party here, but this was delicious! I was given some goat cheese that had herbs on the outside of the log, so I skipped the tarragon, and used fettuccine noodles. I also added some chicken that I oven roasted with lemon pepper seasoning, and cut it down for 2 servings. This was so delicious! I’m a regular reader here, but I actually found this recipe when I googled “goat cheese asparagus pasta”.

    BTW, I ate a bit of it cold when I was putting away the leftovers, and it was still very tasty but it was a bit “gluey”.

  179. Stephanie

    I haven’t been feeling well, and my last few turns in the kitchen ended up being disastrous, so this week I wanted something delicious and super easy. This recipe is incredible! The entire prep/cooking time was the length of time it took to boil water and cook the pasta, and it came together perfectly. My partner thought it was delicious, and was very surprised at how little time dinner took to make, and how little clean up was necessary afterwards.

    Next time, I think we’re going to skip the lemon peel and just add a little more lemon juice; I always halve the recipe and I feel like I’m wasting a lemon for just half a teaspoon of rind each time.

  180. Made this tonight, and NOMZ. We used quinoa pasta which added an extra level of flavor, but sadly I was a little short on the asparagus (the weight was right but they were big thick spears rather than thin tender ones, hence fewer chunks). I say “sadly” because the forkfuls that were composed of all four components (pasta, cheese, asparagus, lemon) were exponentially more than the sum of their parts — I would have liked every bite to have them all :) Also, interestingly, it got more flavorful as it cooled, I’m not sure why. But I think Portside’s (#16) suggestion of putting it all in a casserole and baking it would be awesome as well.

  181. Jenn

    Omg I’m just now finding this, but better late than never! I took a few liberties and used broccoli florets instead of asparagus, Meyer lemon peel/juice, and threw in some baby arugula to wilt with the hot pasta… What a lovely way to eat my last “normal” meal before a month-long Paleo challenge!

  182. Michelle

    Loved this–cut up some chicken tenders, cooked with salt/pepper and garlic salt to add and it was a perfect meal. Added lots of zest and fresh juice, think that was key. Instead of taragon, i added just a touch of dried thyme because that’s all I had. YUM!

  183. Sidney

    It was amazing! I added some fresh chopped cherry tomatoes to it and that was a great addition! It’s such a quick and delicious recipe.

  184. Delphi Psmith

    I’ve made this twice and we really like it, except that we seem to need to add a lot of salt, fresh ground pepper, and grated Manchego to amp up the flavor. Could be because Mr Psmith hates tarragon and I subbed summer savory? Maybe I need a stronger herb. Or maybe you just have to have a palate that’s pleased by milder flavors? Nevertheless, this has become a standard go-to recipe because it’s so easy — and if you mix the olive oil, cheese, etc. in the same pot you cooked the pasta in (while the pasta is sitting in the strainer), it’s a one-pot meal. Which also pleases Mr Psmith, since he’s the designated dishwasher :)

  185. Emma

    I made this and shredded some leftover lemon chicken I had roasted the night before. FABULOUS!! Perfect springtime dinner on the back porch with a glass of rosé. Thank you!!

    I was oohing and aahing the whole way through your blog so this is my first attempt at one of your recipes and now I’m obsessed. What wonderful suggestions!!

  186. Kate

    Just thought I’d drop in to say…YUM. I’ve been making this recipe of yours every spring for the last couple of years. It’s what’s for dinner tonight, as asparagus is finally in full swing here. Such a quick and simple meal. What a keeper!

  187. Chrissy

    Made this last night and it is officially my new favorite pasta! I also added some simple meatballs I made with just egg and lemon pepper and it all came together so well!

  188. PG

    This really does come together so quickly that I wouldn’t recommend making it all the night before. What I did to ensure that it was ready quickly for brunch was to have all the ingredients prepared the night before: asparagus washed, peeled and chopped; lemon grated and juiced; lemon peel, tarragon, olive oil and goat cheese already combined in the large bowl. Then you just have to boil the pasta and cook the asparagus (a 15 minute job) and toss them into your bowl of prepared goat cheese.

    I made so much that I tried eating it for lunch the next day. Not awful, but as Deb says, the sauce gets kind of glue-y and not nearly as good as it is fresh. I’m a very slow cook so I hardly ever tell people not to cook ahead, but I don’t think it’s the way to go on this recipe.

  189. Susan

    What a wonderful dish! Suprisingly light and just delightful. Asparaus was full of flavor. Sub’d in a different cheese, and it was still perfect.

  190. If you’re cooking for two, halve the pasta, asparagus, and almost halve the goat cheese.
    I’m a veggie lover and (thanks to my wonderful CSA) tend to have a variety of flavorful greens on hand. I added a handfull of chopped snap peas and chives to the boiling water at the same time as the asparagus. I also added 1 clove garlic and 1 tbl parmigiano reggiano to the sauce and loved the flavor!

  191. Jen H.

    I was excited for this to become my “go to” weeknight recipe for our family. I liked it, but my twin toddler girls gave it a big thumbs down. I am afraid they’re becoming “those” kind of babies (you know, the ones who only eat Kraft mac and cheese or pasta with butter) but my partner didn’t care for it either and found it way too lemony (both from the zest and lemon juice). Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

    1. deb

      Jen H. — You might like this lighter, less lemony pasta with green vegetables (of your choice) I posted last week. It’s a good update to this, and has less strong flavors. Oh, and I wouldn’t sweat the kid thing. Mine is hardly a perfect eater (I really think it’s in their programming to prefer plain or familiar foods over new ones) but he’d never choose goat cheese and lemon over ricotta and parmesan. ;)

  192. Hell’s Kitchen

    Just made this- it was such a great, simple idea! I love goat cheese and eat it all the time but I never thought to make a pasta sauce with it. My boyfriend is a goat cheese skeptic but he gave it the thumbs up too. Well worth the questionable, overpriced bunch of asparagus I made it with (argh NYC) Thanks for the easy/healthy weeknight dinner!

  193. Megan

    Sounds DELICIOUS! I’m having a couple of friends over for dinner this weekend, and this looks like the perfect recipe that could be a) easily scaled up and b) easy to do after they arrive without distracting me too long from entertaining them … but what kind of dessert would go best with the heavy goat cheese-and-pasta element? Maybe meringue + sorbet?

  194. Shanteri Baliga

    I made this tonight, skipping the tarragon, but oh my was it delicious! I tried a new brand of goat cheese and a more ‘peppery’ olive oil. It’s just the thing to brighten up a cold saturday evening!

  195. Ree

    I made this last night with some additions. I added chopped cherry tomatoes and toasted walnuts. I substituted fresh mint for the tarragon. I used crumbled goat cheese and it melted just fine. It was delicious!

  196. Jess

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was so easy and so good! I used a ton of lemon juice and lemon zest because I believe more lemon improves everything. It was a great light dinner with plenty of leftovers.

  197. Sarah L

    Stumbled on this again and just had to comment that I have made this a few times now and love it every time! I have taken to cutting the asparagus and roasting it with olive oil and spices, then pouring it all together with the extra oil/juices from roasting giving it a great flavor. If you turn on the oven and put the water on when you start preparing the asparagus, everything seems to be finished at the same time! It’s definitely saved me a few times when I have no idea what to cook for dinner!

  198. Vidya

    A bit late to the party, but this was exactly what I wanted to make this sunny London evening. Asparagus was ridiculously expensive but I splurged anyway, but had to use half the amount listed. I also had to use double the goat cheese to get it to taste like much. It now looks exactly like yours. In any case, a keeper – I plan to try the sugar snap and ricotta pasta next.

  199. Ty R

    This is one of my favorite recipies! How would i make this into a salad I can take toa potluck summer party? Any ideas would be so helpful! Thank you

  200. Kate

    This was awesome! I subbed in basil instead of tarragon, and used about half the amount of goat cheese and it still came out wonderfully. Thanks Deb!

  201. Cara

    Yum. I’ve made this a few times following the recipe exactly and then tonight, I decided to make a more seasonal version. I used broccolini, pancetta bits and toasted pine nuts and it was awesome! Thanks for the idea!

  202. Ann

    You are AMAZING. Thank you. Once again you’ve reaffirmed the 87 different reasons – or, I don’t know, at least five of them – why this is my favorite cooking blog. Yay, Deb!

  203. jenn

    Deb, I’m making this for dinner tonight (can’t wait! fresh asparagus!) and just saw your comment to the tool who tried to shame you for your ‘adapted from’ credit. I love that you linked him to an article on that very topic. Deb putting the smack down!

  204. Leslie Merical

    Thank you for a delightfully easy & refreshing recipe idea for a dinner party!
    I made this using spinach instead of asparagus, because I use mostly organic when possible & couldn’t find organic asparagus.
    This is what I did & what I’d do when making again (which I most def will!):

    I’d chiffonade the spinach for aesthic appeal. I didn’t like the look of the clumps of spinach (taste was fine & guests didn’t mind it, but I like things to look as good as they taste :) !
    I used juice of 1 whole lemon & it was good & tangy (but I had a few more people so I made 1 1/3 x’s the recipe. Re lemon peel, next time I’d use only use the zest – I dug deep & it was a bit bitter getting the pith & all
    I used ½ whole wheat organic pasta & ½ regular organic pastas & it was lovely.
    Also, I added about 1/3 C of finely chopped walnuts on top when I served & thought it added a lot to the taste.
    I forgot (& wished I’d had it) to reserve some pasta water & it would have been nice to have to thin the sauce a bit to make it cover perfectly.
    I’d also add red pepper flakes next time, if I was serving to a group who could take the heat – the group I served to this time don’t care for spicy dishes.

    I served it with a simple green romaine salad with a passion fruit/champagne vinaigrette.

    It got raves & “licked clean” plates from everyone!

    Thanks again for the great recipe!!!

  205. lauren p

    delicious! I added a fresh from the henhouse poached egg atop each portion and drizzled it with truffle oil and grated reggiano. soooo yummy!

  206. Chris

    We’ve been making a similar dish for years but we also add mushrooms and instead of goat cheese, we toss in feta crumbles. It’s so tasty and super easy!

  207. Elizabeth

    This looks delicious! We like crispy asparagus in my house– can I broil it as usual and add it after draining the pasta? Or will the flavors not blend as well? Thanks!

  208. Biz

    Thanks so much for this great recipe! I made it last night with thyme instead of tarragon and no zest (because I forgot to pick up lemons). It was delicious!

  209. Rachel

    I made this tonight using an herbed goat cheese versus plain cheese with fresh tarragon. I also added sauteed mushrooms with the asparagus. So yummy!! I can imagine so many variations to this for the summer!!

  210. Jamie

    I am not a big fan of asparagus, but I loved the idea of using goat cheese as pasta sauce, so I replaced the asparagus with spinach (wilted with hot pasta water), and it was SO GOOD. What an awesome, simple, easy combination!

  211. Christine

    I wanted to make a slightly more healthful version, so I substituted quinoa for the pasta. I just threw the lemon zest, lemon juice, and goat cheese(I even used crumbles, which melted just fine) directly into the cooked quinoa. Then, I broiled the asparagus with some avocado oil, salt and pepper and threw that in. I served it with ground turkey. I can’t stop eating it! I may have defeated the purpose of the whole “healthful” idea;). Thanks for the yummy recipe!

  212. I made this tonight and had a serious internal battle to not eat more than I did because I really really wanted to. It was great. So easy. So quick. So fresh and bright. Loved it. By the way, I have made one of your recipes for what seems like every single day/night for a week or two. The confetti cookies, the pasta, etc, etc. The scones are up tomorrow, and for supper, the old school baked ziti. Can.not.wait.

  213. Bonnie

    This has become a go-to easy weeknight dinner in our family. (But it is delicious enough to serve for guests.) I don’t change a thing. Yum.

  214. Liz B.

    Welp, I forgot to save the pasta water when I drained the pasta and asparagus, so the cheese kind of clumped up and didn’t turn into a sauce, but it was still delicious. I used mint instead of tarragon and it was refreshing and delicious!

  215. Amanda

    I made a single serving of this pasta tonight, and it is amazing! A great dish for asparagus, and I’ll put goat cheese on just about anything. I did not have tarragon so I’ll have to add that next time (and there will be a next time)! I did add baby spinach to the hot pan after I drained the pasta and asparagus, and then I mixed everything together in the hot pan. The dish was delicious!

  216. emily

    This was a great date night dish—so easy to put together, but the flavors were impressive. I loved the sweet note from the tarragon. I imagine this would work well with sweet peas in place of the asparagus.

  217. Marion

    Crazy easy…. I made 1/2 recipe, using what I had on hand, substituting dried tarragon, 8oz penne… didn’t need much of the pasta water at all. Thank you –

  218. Susan

    We have been eating this for years! Its on the regular rotation for a fast, yummy vegetarian meal. We usually add cannellini beans, red pepper and roasted or warmed cherry tomatoes. (Whatever we have on hand). Made it for friends I am visiting out of town tonight. We came across your post while looking for the original recipe to share. Glad to see others enjoying it as much as us. And so many great tweak ideas.

  219. Jay

    This is one of our favorite weeknight dinners in the spring. Even my two-year-old and four-year-old devour it. The only modification I make is to add a dried seasoning mix with shallots and tarragon whenever I can’t find fresh tarragon. It is awesome topped with leftover buttermilk roast chicken!

  220. Alison

    Wanted to share that I successfully swapped ricotta for goat cheese, since I’m not a fan. Otherwise followed recipe as written. It’s easy and yummy!

  221. Rob

    This is one of my weeknight favorites – so quick and delicious. I’ve found that saving some of the pasta water is really the key to the creamy sauce! I often substitute broccoli if the asparagus at the market is looking sad – I boil that for the last 3 minutes of the pasta’s cooking time. I often add a garlic clove and some red pepper flakes to the oil. Last night I added shrimp for the first time and it was delicious. Reheats well as leftovers too!

  222. mt

    Great and crazy easy; used fresh dill instead of tarragon. Added smoked salmon (lox). I’d like to add bits of sundried tomato (for varied color/texture) and/or toasted pinenuts.

  223. Rose

    Hello, I just made an adaptation of this recipe and it turned out delicious. I didn’t have any tarragon, my asparagus somehow went bad before I could use it, but I did have baby broccoli. So, I used the baby broccoli instead of asparagus and I added some chopped basil and arugula, because well why not! And, I used 5 oz of plain goat cheese and 2.5 oz of herbed goat cheese, so it had a little bit of the herb kick. The lemon is so good with the goat cheese.

    I can’t tell you how much I love all of your recipes. You are the best!! Love from Denver!

  224. hilltribetravels

    Love this! My husband and I have a big run tomorrow and he definitely wants pasta for dinner. I’d prefer something lighter – this is a good balance I think. Not too heavy! Making tonight! Cheers :)

  225. Cindy B.

    I’ve made several of your recipes and I’m on your blog often, but never saw this recipe until now. I’ve made a version of his several times. I usually add either some cut up grilled or roasted chicken or chick peas to give it some needed protein and round out the dish. Oh, and I’ve never added lemon juice, just the lemon zest (and lots of pepper). I’ll have to try it next time with the juice. Thanks for this and all of your recipes!

  226. Michaele

    I have made something similar. I sauté garlic slices and halved cherry tomatoes along with the asparagus. Sometimes I will throw in a few sun dried tomatoes also.
    Fabulous dish!

  227. Andi

    What would be a good sub for goat cheese? My husband and I aren’t big fans. Farmers cheese? Something else? Thanks

  228. Sarah Wilson

    This was amazingly delicious with fresh-from-the-garden asparagus and blue cheese instead of goat. I will be making this as long as the asparagus is in season. Thank you, Deb!

  229. Martha Petersen

    It takes a little longer, but roasting the asparagus (450 – 15 min– 2T olive oil and cut back 2T on goat cheese/lemon mix) start about 5 min before cooking the pasta). Everything comes together at the same time. It was fantastic.

  230. I love this recipe and all its variants (my favorite addition is burst cherry tomatoes… they add their liquid and mix with the goat cheese to make a REALLY delicious instant tomato cream sauce).

    In the interest of washing fewer dishes, I always omit the extra bowl and just toss everything together back in the hot saucepan.

  231. Dyna Ice

    My 9-year-old and I just made this for dinner! He poured the olive oil, zested the lemon and crumbled the goat cheese! He loved the smells of all the ingredients! Once the pasta and asparagus was cooked, he added the sauce! Then oohed and aahhhed over the completed dish for our supper! I just adore all your recipes, but making this with my son tonight, was so special! Thanks, Deb! Another spot on dish!

  232. Anna, but not your Anna

    I looked at the recipe like once, watched the Instagram Story and then made it without looking at the recipe again. As I was eating I thought “you know this needs some lemon zest” added the zest and it was good. Then I decided to come and share my big discovery. Which is that the recipe is really good when you add all the ingredients.

  233. Alana K

    Just made this tonight! Delicious! I ended up having only half the amount of pasta for the full amount of asparagus, and 3 oz of goat cheese, but it worked out just fine. Heavy on asparagus, which was just perfect.
    Thanks for the clearly written recipe!

  234. Jill

    Yummy, so quick and addicting. I loved the tangy and creamy combination of lemon and goat cheese. I used broccoli rabe and chicken cubes.

  235. Rachel

    This recipe is so good! I love goat cheese, and I am terrible at making a traditional alfredo sauce, so this is exactly what I need in my life. I used slightly less goat cheese (about 2 oz to 1/2 pound of pasta) and I still liked the consistency. The second time I made it, I sauted mushrooms in a side pan and added it at the very end. I think the mushroom flavors goes together very well with the lemon and asparagus. When reheating leftovers, I found it to be a little dry, so microwave it and then break in just a tiny forkful of the goat cheese again and it refreshes the pasta perfectly and makes it enjoyable again. Don’t delay–make this today and you’ll never regret it!

  236. Rebecca

    We tried this dish for a simple fast Sunday tea. I subbed frozen pumpkin ravioli for the spiral pasta, frozen broccoli for the asparagus, and 50:50 sour cream/greek yoghurt for the goat cheese. Twin 8-year olds both declared it a winner. Will have to try again when asparagus is in season.

  237. Liz

    I just made this and it was delicious!!! I’m pregnant and super picky. I needed something light and healthy and refreshing and this was perfect! I was hoping to have the leftovers for lunch, but my husband ate it all :(

  238. I love this recipe. I just made it for the second time. This time, I doubled the sauce recipe because I found that there wasn’t enough of it the first time. Double the sauce is definitely the way to go if you like cheese!

  239. jesse

    question- has anyone served this the next day? and should you serve it cold or warm? thinking about making this for a get together. thanks!

    1. Havas

      I have never officially served it the next day but I’ve eaten it for the better part of a whole week and it’s wonderful. That said it’s best warm.

  240. Katie Shaw

    Added some salted and roasted grape tomatoes. Really good! Totally agree on adding the lemon juice at the end. Used parsley as I’m also making Deb’s “Pizza Beans” this weekend. :)

  241. Ted Yaeger

    Very simple but the trick is to make the sauce ingredients first so you can add the hot pasta/asparagus mix to easily melt the goat cheese. I also use garlic and herb type of goat cheese. Finally a generous tablespoon of Pernod adds a bit of fennel flavor and top with a finish of parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

  242. Jackie

    So fresh and so good! I made this tonight and used exactly the ingredients listed, except my goat cheese was ‘herbed goat cheese’ – but it made no noticeable difference. The primary flavours were asparagus, lemon, goat cheese and tarragon. I really like fresh tarragon but find it’s easy to overdo it, so I erred on the side of caution with the amount of it. After I mixed everything together (sauce, pasta, asparagus) I found it to be a wee bit bland, but then I realized I didn’t add enough goat cheese. After rectifying that, I added a gentle squeeze of lemon juice and some fine sea salt to taste and it was PERFECT.
    I halved this recipe because I live alone, and I had planned on eating half tonight and half for lunch tomorrow… but I went back for seconds and now my lunch helping tomorrow is very small. No regrets. Thank you, Deb!

  243. CM

    I’m a little bit upset I just discovered this recipe; it’s amazing. I roasted the asparagus as someone suggested and just used whatever herbs I had. The lemon juice makes it, go heavy there.

  244. Kiki

    I just found and made this recipe… fabulous. I think, as noted by the previous reviews, that it is easy to add or substitute as needed. I didn’t have goat cheese but used cream cheese, and also added crumbled bacon and Sliced Sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil) at the end. Which honestly I can’t imagine this dish without them!
    Thanks for the launching point of a fun and delicious recipe.

  245. Liz Corsini

    Savior pasta! We have two small children, and even though goat cheese was “new” (they’ve had it before, but not often enough to deem it “safe”); they both devoured it! I don’t think I have to describe the struggle to make something worth eating when you are under a deadline. Must feed the children and put them to bed before they unravel and/or I unravel. This was faster than takeout, and made me feel like a hero. Thank you!

  246. Ellie

    Thank you for posting this right now while fiddleheads are in season! I think this recipe will work fantastically with them instead of asparagus. I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

  247. Christi Botello

    This was so good and so simple and you are right – so easy to flex to whatever you happen to have. We only had honey goat cheese, which was actually perfect for this, and had recently made ramp butter, so I subbed that for most of the olive oil, and used broccolini instead of asparagus. (Plus roasted some chickpeas for some extra protein). It was delightful. Definitely being added to our rotation.

    1. Maro

      I just made it and don’t love tarragon. I dialed it back and found it to be a nice complement to the other flavors, but do you!

  248. Hana

    This was such an easy and tasty meal.
    Don’t like goat cheese? Use it anyway. It adds some creaminess and you can’t even tell it’s goat cheese.
    Want more protein? Add an over easy egg- AMAZING!

  249. Bethe

    I made this last night, exactly as written (except for just a bit less goat cheese – I didn’t want to buy the big log, which was too big, so I got the smaller size, which was 4 oz.) and it was AMAZING. I actually caught myself making happy noises while eating it. While boiling water and cooking pasta isn’t my favorite summer cooking task, the finished meal is perfect for summertime and will be going into regular rotation.

  250. Michele Archambault

    Just made this with fettucine, fresh mint and basil, since that’s what I had on hand. Simple and delicious. This is a great go-to for a late spring/ summer meal with so little cooking required. I have some English peas I need to shell and use and I’m thinking that could work nicely with this also, either the peas on their own or a mix of peas and asparagus. I wish I thought of that sooner!

  251. I made this yesterday and downsized recipe to 2 servings as a side for lump crab cakes. I used fresh thyme instead of tarragon. I will be making this often to serve with fish and seafood. Delicious and easy! Perfect for special occasions and for guests.

  252. Jennifer

    So yummy! I had already resigned myself that the kids would turn up their noses (Asparagus and goat cheese) and I’d give in and let them have cereal after they tried the pasta. But both boys loved it. I loved it. And it took TEN minutes. I didn’t have enough asparagus from the CSA, so I added half a bag of frozen peas at the 3 min point in cooking the pasta. And I didn’t have tetragonal so I subbed marjoram. I already know the guests I want to make it for.

  253. Amanda

    This was delicious! I used dried basil instead of tarragon because it’s what I had, added four slices of bacon (cooked separately, chopped up, and added) and about a tsp of red pepper flakes. Recommend!

  254. Jennie

    I made an improvised version (no goat cheese cuz we used that in your roasted tomato pasta salad!). I tried cream cheese because I bought too much at Costco and it was great. Basil and oregano from my porch and grated some hard boiled eggs on top because I’m bougie. Also I was making egg salad for my kids…

  255. Lia Finney

    This was delicious!! I subbed sugar snap peas (they are going crazy in our garden) for asparagus and was really pleased with results. Will try again with asparagus. Loved how the goat cheese melted into the sauce-look forward to trying with another cheese, maybe blue? Thank you Deb!

    1. K

      That blue cheese idea is a good one! My version today was cream cheese augmented with grated Gruyere and parmesan, plus frozen peas and chopped fennel fronds and parsley in addition to the asparagus. Since I used shell-shaped pasta, I needed no extra cooking water aside from the remainder held in the pasta. Deliciously springy.

  256. oh my! I love this dish! I made it for the family and even my little picky eaters loved it…it is creamy yet light in flavor and easy to make, a win win for mom…i love it and plan to put it on our dinner rotation

  257. Oh my gosh, this just looks absolutely divine!
    I definitely should not have read this whilst feeling hungry because now my stomach is grumbling! lol!

    As a vegetarian I’m always looking for easy, nutritious recipes to feed my family and this one is definitely getting book marked. Thanks for sharing and I will let you know how it goes down with the fam!

  258. Karen Sullivan

    Delicious and so easy. We added a bit of ham and mushrooms to clear out the refrigerator. Making it again today to take to my mother-in-law for dinner.

  259. Alexandra

    I tried for the “creamy pasta sauce” but it was not happening for me. Disappointing. Good flavors but too dry to be a repeater.
    Any ideas?

    1. Janet A

      Be sure that you add the pasta and veg while still piping hot, and that your pasta water is also very hot. If it isn’t, stick it in the microwave to get it just shy of boiling. Heat is the magic that makes the sauce.

      1. Alexandra Copeland

        Thanks for this encouraging reply. You have made me want to try again. I’ll make sure to keep things as hot as possible and watch for the creamy magic.

  260. DanielC

    Going to try this soon; thought about adding a handful of (oil-packed-and-drained) sun-dried tomatoes when I saw the photos!

  261. Lori

    What is the best way to “save” recipes from this site and/or print them? I’d like to see a “print” recipe option.

  262. Emily

    This recipe is GREAT. I’ve made it with and without asparagus, depending on whether it’s available. Don’t forget the reserved pasta water – it really helps to blend things into a sauce. This is a great quick dinner or lunch and doesn’t require much prep other than zesting the lemon and chopping the herbs. I mix up the cheese, olive oil and seasonings in the bowl I’m going to eat with to minimize the amount of dishes produced.

  263. Rachel

    I swapped pasta for spaghetti squash for some family members on the paleo/low-carb program and it worked great! I love lemon so I added some juice just before serving. Also, I could not for the life of me find tarragon so I used dried thyme as some other commenters suggested. I can’t wait to make this again (with squash or pasta)!

  264. karen marie

    I’ve been making this for years (although I’d be hard pressed to say whether the date precedes 2009). The difference is, I add about 1/2 cup of grated parmesan to the goat cheese. I soften the goat cheese in the microwave (in the final bowl) for 30 seconds, then add lemon zest, lemon juice, the parmesan, and some red pepper flakes for sparkle.

    The recipe I originally had called for mascarpone. One day I decided to use what I had at hand – goat cheese – and I’ve never looked back. While tarragon would be nice, it’s not necessary – the cheeses, lemon and asparagus are gorgeous on their own.

    1. karen marie

      PS: I don’t understand the olive oil in this recipe. I’ve never used it. I might try adding it to see what the difference in texture/flavor is but it’s fantastic without so feel free to leave it out.

  265. Christine

    I thought it was bland. I also added the cup of pasta water and then saw the recipe said a couple splashes
    Not sure if it would have improved it or not.

  266. karen marie

    You stole my idea! Haha – just kidding. I’ve been making this for years. The original recipe calls for mascarpone – and parmesan – but, as far as I remember, no olive oil. After I warm the goat cheese and stir in the lemon juice/zest, I add ~1/2 cup of grated parm.

    Maybe the olive oils decreases the “tightening” as the cheese cools?

  267. Anne Kraft

    I am a huge fan of your new Kitchen Keepers book. I just bought a signed copy from the Strand for my daughter for mothers days. I am working my way through the book. So many truly wonderful recipes. The zuchinni and pesto lasagna is amazing!

    Back to the subject at hand. I am not a goat cheese fan. I was wondering if Boursin cheese would be a good substitute for this recipe. Thoughts?

  268. Cheryle

    For two of us I halved the amount of pasta and asparagus. I did not halve the sauce, and was happy with the outcome. I also might try a bit higher ratio of asparagus-pasta. I don’t like soggy asparagus, so I added some of the thicker stalks earlier than the tips of the asparagus. Delicious and easy recipe—thank you.

  269. Martha Petersen

    I’ve been making this for years (since it was originally posted). Whenever I bring it to a pot luck, I get requests for the recipe. It’s often my go-to for a variety of grilled vegetables with pasta.

  270. Janet

    This is my new favorite quick (as in lickety-split) meal! Made it tonight, and everybody in the family loved it. Absolutely delicious!

  271. lindamc

    Came late to this but it’s amazing. Should have been one of the “Keepers” (which I love, BTW). The tarragon was a little bit counterintuitive, but a nice change from the usual herby suspects.

  272. Lillian Sowa

    If you happen to be married to someone who can’t stand goat cheese, do you have a recommendation for a replacement? Cream cheese perhaps?

  273. Emily

    Made this twice now; first time to recipe, second time was still good (and lower-lift for nights when you are too tired).

    Adaptations to the second time I made it: used dried dill instead of tarragon, omitted the lemon, and used frozen peas instead of asparagus since that is what I had in my freezer. Delicious and fast! Will likely make this dinner in the winter when I am longing for summer. Next time, I might also add some canelini beans to add some protein.

    Thanks Deb!