Alicia Ross for Kitchen Scoop
Easy pasta sauce with chevre cheese

There is a super-easy pasta sauce that I've missed creating until now. I'm talking about using chevre (or goat cheese) as the creamy binder for simple pasta dishes. I've sampled several versions at restaurants and friends' homes, and maybe you have, too. Some had additional protein; others did not. Asparagus, spinach, sauteed onions and carrots, a medley of peppers, and fresh herbs have all appeared in one way or another. But the one thing they all have in common is the simplicity of stirring in the cheese with a bit of pasta water, and the sauce is complete.

I think the sauce works best with short pasta, a chopped or small vegetable and a squirt of lemon to top it all off. Use today's recipe as a jumping-off place for your own pasta creations, pulling it all together with the earthy creaminess of chevre. Enjoy!


Spinach, Chicken and Chevre Pasta

Crusty Italian bread

Chilled pinot grigio


Start to finish: 20 minutes

12 ounces tricolored bowtie pasta (or plain, if you can't find it)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into small pieces (see Cook's note)

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

5 ounces prewashed baby spinach

5 ounces chevre

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Zest from 1 lemon

Salt and black pepper to taste

Sliced green onion, optional garnish

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Cook, stirring constantly, chicken, onion, garlic and Italian seasoning until chicken is no longer pink and onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low; top chicken mixture with spinach and cover to steam until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.

When pasta is done, drain carefully, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water. Set aside.

Comment on this story

In a large pasta bowl, combine the chevre, 1/2 cup pasta water, lemon juice and zest. Stir to break up cheese until creamy. Add chicken-spinach mixture and pasta, and toss to coat well. Add up to 1/2 cup more pasta water, if needed, to distribute the sauce. Add salt and paper to taste and serve. Garnish with green onion, if desired.

Cook's note: If you purchase thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, you will not have to make as many cuts. If you have a large, single chicken breast, slice horizontally in half to make smaller pieces.

Yield: 6 servings

Approximate values per serving: 442 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated), 93 mg cholesterol, 34 g protein, 46 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, 178 mg sodium.

Alicia Ross is the co-author of "Desperation Dinners!" (Workman, 1997), "Desperation Entertaining!" (Workman, 2002) and "Cheap. Fast. Good!" (Workman, 2006). Contact her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to Or visit the Kitchen Scoop website at Dist. by Universal Uclick for UFS