This easy goat cheese pasta is loaded with spring veggies in a light and creamy lemon goat cheese sauce. With fettuccine, asparagus, onion, and peas. Vegetarian.
Stop what you’re doing, because this easy, creamy goat cheese pasta is CALLING. YOUR. NAME.
This easy stovetop pasta is a cross between a rich fettuccine alfredo sauce and a veggie-forward pasta primavera.
It’s ready in 30 minutes (with just one pot!) for a quick weeknight pasta dish that doubles as comfort food thanks to a creamy, cheesy pasta sauce.
Our secret ingredient in this recipe: Starchy pasta water.
When your pasta has cooked, you’re left with a pot full of starchy, cloudy, salty water.
This pasta water is one of the most underrated and underused ingredients in pasta sauce.
A ladleful of that starchy water can stretch or thin out a sauce, emulsify any tricky ingredients (particularly handy for sauces with lemon and cream that might otherwise separate!) and give you a silky smooth texture.
In this recipe, we’ll use our pasta water to thin our sauce, help the goat cheese melt evenly, and create a velvety finish!
(Fun fact: in a previous version of this recipe, we actually made a whole béchamel sauce for this pasta. But after a few more tests, we decided you really don’t need something so heavy and time consuming here. So we nixed it to keep things ultra-light and ultra-simple!)
How to make this goat cheese pasta sauce:
- Step 1: Use tongs to toss cooked pasta, veggies, pepper, lemon, and goat cheese together in your pot over low heat. Toss until the goat cheese is mostly melted but not quite smooth.
- Step 2: Add a splash of reserved pasta water to your pasta and toss to combine. Repeat until you have a light, silky, velvety sauce that coats your noodles!
Finishing a sauce with pasta water can take a bit of practice, so add just a little bit at a time and taste as you go. That pasta water should be nice and salty, so hold off on adding any additional salt until the very end!
Additions and Substitutions
This goat cheese pasta is a perfect blank-canvas recipe. We love this pasta with asparagus, onion, and peas, but you can add any veggies or protein you have on hand!
Our favorite veggie mix-ins:
- A spoonful of pesto (we love this arugula pesto!)
- Tomatoes (bonus points if you roast some cherry tomatoes!)
- Sweet corn
- Bell peppers
- Beans (chick peas or butter beans are great!)
- Zucchini or another summer squash (grilled or roasted, OR you can swap zucchini noodles for half of the fettuccine)
- Roasted butternut squash
To keep things feeling crisp and fresh, work quickly and don’t overcook the veggies!
Lightly cook vegetables like asparagus (or broccoli, or kale, or bell peppers) so they retain a bright, spring-y crunch here. Stir peas in at the very end so they stay bright green and crisp!
Serve with chicken, salmon, or shrimp for extra protein. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat or a handful of shredded parmesan cheese for extra flavor! You can also dial up the goat cheese here if you like.Print
A quick and easy weeknight pasta with goat cheese and fresh spring vegetables.
- ½ pound pasta (we used fettuccine)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ½ large yellow onion, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
- 2 cups chopped asparagus
- 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
- 2 ounces goat cheese (about ¼ cup)
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup reserved pasta water (see recipe instructions)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta in very salty water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain pasta and set aside.
- Return pot to stove over medium heat. Add olive oil.
- When olive oil is hot, add sliced onion. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion has softened and begun to brown, about 3 minutes.
- Add asparagus to pot and sauté until brightened in color and very slightly softened, about 1-2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low.
- Add peas, goat cheese, lemon juice, and cooked fettuccine to pot.
- Add a few turns of fresh cracked black pepper, but no salt yet!
- Use tongs to toss everything together until the goat cheese has mostly melted. It should still be a bit clumpy and rough.
- Add reserved pasta water a splash at a time, using tongs to toss in between each addition, until goat cheese has fully melted and you have a smooth, silky sauce. You likely won’t need the full cup of reserved pasta water!
- Taste and add salt if necessary.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately! Garnish with a lemon wedge, a few turns of cracked black pepper, or some extra goat cheese if you like.
Substitutions. Use ricotta, cream cheese, brie (rind removed), or another easy-melting soft cheese in place of the goat cheese. Use heavy cream, milk, chicken stock, or cauliflower cream in place of the pasta water. Swap the veggies for whatever you have on hand (see “additions” section below).
Additions. Add spinach or kale, pesto, garlic or garlic scapes, broccoli, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, herbs, mushrooms, or summer squash in place of or in addition to the vegetables here. Add roasted or grilled chicken, salmon, or shrimp for extra protein. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes, a dash of fish sauce, or a handful of shredded parmesan cheese for extra flavor.
Taste as you go! Lemon juice and goat cheese can vary in flavor and strength across brands (or across lemons!) Some of our recipe testers preferred this recipe as written, and some wanted even more goat cheese to amp up the tangy, tart flavor. Make this recipe as written, then give it a taste and add more goat cheese, lemon juice, and/or salt and pepper as necessary. With so few ingredients, seasoning becomes extra important here. Trust your taste buds and don’t be afraid to make adjustments!
We cook our veggies very lightly here so they retain a crisp bite in the pasta. Feel free to cook them longer if you prefer softer, well-done veggies!
This post was updated in 2020 to simplify the sauce and add additional notes.
Keywords: weeknight, one pot,