Golden penne with goat's cheese

    55 min

    Mild and creamy goat's cheese is melted in saffron-infused white wine and mixed with fennel, olives and capers to make a golden-coloured sauce for pasta shapes. This easy dish comes with a simple mixed leaf salad.

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    Serves: 4 

    • large pinch of saffron threads
    • 100 ml (3½ fl oz) dry white wine
    • 400 g (14 oz) penne or other pasta shapes
    • 30 g (1 oz) pine nuts
    • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 bulb of fennel, very thinly sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
    • 55 g (2 oz) stoned black olives, roughly chopped
    • 1 tbsp capers, drained
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh marjoram
    • 170 g (6 oz) soft goat's cheese
    • salt and pepper
    • sprigs of fresh marjoram to garnish
    • Mixed leaf salad
    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    • 1 tbsp orange juice
    • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
    • 170 g (6 oz) assorted salad leaves such as Oak Leaf, rocket, Lollo Rosso and watercress

    Prep:35min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:55min 

    1. Crumble the saffron threads into a small mixing bowl. Heat the wine in a large, non-stick frying pan until steaming hot, then pour it over the saffron. Leave to infuse. Wipe out the frying pan with kitchen paper and set it aside.
    2. For the salad, combine the oil, orange juice and vinegar in a salad bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and whisk to mix. Pile the salad leaves on top of the dressing, but do not toss. Set aside.
    3. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
    4. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in the frying pan over a moderately high heat for 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden. Tip the pine nuts into a bowl and set aside.
    5. Heat the oil in the frying pan over a moderate heat and cook the sliced fennel for 5–6 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, stirring well. Stir in the olives, capers and chopped marjoram.
    6. Add the goat's cheese and the saffron-infused wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the cheese has melted smoothly into the liquid to make a sauce.
    7. Drain the pasta in a colander, then tip it into the frying pan. Gently toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Spoon onto warmed serving plates, sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and garnish with sprigs of fresh marjoram. Serve immediately, with the quickly tossed salad.

    Plus points

    Cheese made from goat's milk provides protein, calcium and phosphorus plus several B vitamins. * Pasta is an excellent source of starchy carbohydrate and it is low in fat, so fits well into the recommendations for healthy eating. * Pine nuts are a good source of vitamin E. This important antioxidant helps the body to fight harmful free radicals that can damage cells and cause illness and disease.

    Another idea

    Make pasta with sautéed butternut squash and fontina. Cut 400 g (14 oz) peeled and seeded butternut squash into 1 cm (½ in) cubes. Heat 15 g (½ oz) butter with 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan, add the squash and sauté over a moderate heat for 8–10 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. Meanwhile, cook 400 g (14 oz) pasta shapes such as orecchiette (little ears) or conchiglie (shells) in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to packet instructions, until al dente. Add 1 crushed garlic clove to the squash and cook for a further 30 seconds. Drain the pasta and add to the squash in the frying pan, together with 125 g (4½ oz) fontina or taleggio cheese, cut into 1 cm (½ in) cubes, 55 g (2 oz) Parma ham, trimmed of all fat and cut into thin strips, and 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Toss gently to mix. Serve with the mixed leaf salad in the main recipe.

    Each serving provides

    A, B12, E, niacin, copper, selenium, zinc * B1, B2, folate, calcium, iron, potassium

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