Very Much Alive Pasta with Goat Cheese

This easy vegetarian dish makes a perfect springtime lunch or dinner

“I could have easily created 60 pasta recipes in this book,” says Afrim Pristine, Canada’s premier cheese expert and owner of The Cheese Boutique, “but I only have a few, so I need them to be special. Go to your local grocery store and get yourself the softest, creamiest goat cheese they have because this cheesy pasta recipe deserves it. It is a great meal for a nice springtime lunch with friends or family. I love this pasta dish because the goat cheese has a big presence, and as a no-sauce pasta, it is much lighter for the spring or summer heat.


  • 1 lb (450 g) rapini
  • ⅓ cup (85 ml) extra-virgin olive oil 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) crushed red chili flakes 1 lb (450 g) dried orecchiette pasta 3 Tbsp (45 ml) grated lemon zest Sea salt
  • 6 oz (170 g) goat cheese, room temperature (see note)

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Serves: 2–4


1. Roughly chop the rapini.

2. Bring a large pot with 8 cups (2 l) of salted water (I suggest sea salt) to a boil over high heat. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Add the rapini to the boiling water, and cook for approximately 4 minutes or until tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the rapini to the ice water. Chill, then drain the rapini. Pat them dry using a paper towel.

3. In a 12-inch (30 cm) skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until golden. Add the chili flakes, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 45 seconds to allow the flavours to infuse. Add the rapini, toss to combine the ingredients, and remove the pan from the heat.

4. Bring a medium pot of 6 cups (1.5 L) of salted water (again, sea salt is best) to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, and cook for 1 minute less than the package’s instructions specify.

5. Drain the pasta, and transfer it, along with the rapini, to the large skillet. Add the lemon zest, and turn the heat back on high. Toss to combine all the ingredients, cooking for about 1 minute, then season to taste with sea salt.

6. Divide the pasta between your serving bowls, and add a big spoonful of goat cheese to each.

7. Let the heat from the cooked pasta get the goat cheese rich and creamy, and enjoy.

Excerpted from For the Love of Cheese: Recipes and Wisdom from the Cheese Boutique by Afrim Pristine. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher.

The Harrowsmith Team
The Harrowsmith Team

Harrowsmith is the farm-to-condo go-to for living sustainably and simply. Our mission is to offer a down-to-earth Canadian perspective on topics of gardening, home and design, travel and culture, food, health, wellness and the environment.

Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2023

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