Since Fettucini Alfredo, and probably long before it, most of us have experienced an occasional craving for noodles with creamy sauce. I try to avoid pasta dishes calling for actual cream—even the original "Alfredo" sauce was achieved with starchy pasta water, butter, and cheese before cream became a widespread easy cheat.
This recipe passes the creamy-but-creamless test with flying colors.
Gordon Ramsay's recipes is kind of the goat-cheese spin on Alfredo. It eschews not only cream but also butter, opting instead for the complex funk of goat cheese, which melts and coats the noodles.
For a more balanced meal, a hefty portion of steamed broccoli adds some color and bulk (and if there's ever a reason to eat steamed broccoli, it's when it's covered with a starchy, goat-cheesy coating—it's far better than scary yellow liquid "cheese"). The original recipe calls for a version of broccoli found mostly in Britain called purple-sprouting broccoli; a good substitute might be broccolinior just the regular common broccoli, which I used. Ramsay also makes good use of a lemon (both the zest and the juice), which balances out the dish's richness. It makes for an altogether quick and elegant dinner.
- 1 pound purple-sprouting broccoli, broccolini, or broccoli cut into small florets
- 1 pound dried long pasta, such as linguine
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 7 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Finely grated Parmesan, for finishing
Bring a large pot of salty water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining.
In the meantime, steam the broccoli or broccolini until tender. Alternatively, add it into the pasta water for the last few minutes of cooking.
Return the pasta to the empty pot and add olive oil, lemon juice, and half of lemon zest, tossing to coat. Add broccoli, goat cheese, and half of oregano. Heat over low heat while stirring until goat cheese melts, adding reserved pasta water as necessary to create a silky sauce that coats the noodles. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the pasta between warm plates and top with the remaining zest and oregano. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with olive oil if desired. Serve immediately.