This is similar to an Alfredo sauce, however it has the nice bite of goat cheese. I was trying to come up with a dinner I could make just coming back from vacation. I had not gone shopping and my neighbor was coming over for dinner and to play some games. So I looked in the fridge and saw I had goat cheese and cream. I know I had chicken in the freezer and pasta in the pantry… and voila – I can make a creamy pasta dish!
After I was almost done, my neighbor called and said he had a spiral ham and could I use it? Actually – ham would work very well in this dish, so I added some ham. Doesn’t need it, but if you have it, it works well. Not to mention, I got to keep the bone.. stay tuned for a pea soup with Ham recipe coming your way soon!
You can make fresh pasta or use store-bought pasta. I used linguine, but you can use penne, fettuccine, spaghetti, or whatever you happen to have on hand or enjoy making fresh pasta. I made some fresh pasta earlier this week and it is soo good.
On to the sauce!
1 LB chicken, breasts or tenderloin
1 cup diced ham (optional)
2 TBS garlic, diced
1 2.5 oz log of goat cheese
1 2.5 oz log of herbed goat cheese
1 cup cream (heavy cream, light cream and/or combination with cream and whole milk)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Fresh Herbs: 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves reserved, stems discarded
1 sprig fresh oregano, leaves reserved, stems discarded
3 leaves of fresh basil, ribboned
1.5 cups sliced leeks, triple washed
1/2 – 3/4 cup dry white wine (optional – can substitute with chicken stock if desired)
1/4 cup Olive oil
3 TBS butter
1/2 LB linguine (1/2 box)
- In a pot large enough to hold all the pasta, fill 3/4 with water and about 1 TBS salt to a boil over high heat.
- Toss the chicken with 2 TBS olive oil, salt and pepper. Let sit for about 15 minutes.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the goat cheese (crumble it), parmesan cheese, cream, fresh herbs, pinch of salt, and fresh ground pepper. Stir together until well combined. Taste. Adjust seasoning (salt/pepper) if needed. Put aside.
- Over medium/medium-high heat in a large sauce pan, add 1 TBS olive oil and 1 TBS butter. Once the foam subsides, add in the chicken. Saute for approx. 2-3 minutes per side (depending on thickness), then remove and set aside. It is OK if it is still pink in the center as it will continue to cook after removing from the pan and again, once sliced and added back into the sauce. If raw in the center, put back in the pan for another minute or two.
- In same sauce pan, add remaining butter, garlic and leeks over medium heat (too high, you will burn the garlic and butter). Let the butter melt and saute the garlic and leeks until they begin to get soft.
- Add in white wine. Let simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half.
- Cook the pasta.
- Whisk/Stir in goat cheese mixture (and ham if using) into the butter, garlic, etc. mixture. Continue to whisk until butter and goat cheese mixture is combined. Taste and adjust seasoning with fresh ground pepper and salt. Let simmer for about 3 minutes (continue to stir/whisk so it does not burn). If it is too thick, don’t worry. You can use some of the pasta water to thin it out.
- Add the chicken back in. Reduce heat to the lowest setting until ready to add the pasta.
- Once the pasta is done, DON’T strain it, instead, using tongs, lift the pasta from the pot (ok to have some water still on it) and stir in the sauce. If it is too thick, go ahead and stir in about 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Turn the heat to med to finish cooking everything.
- Serve! You can top with fresh diced herbs or just serve as is.
NOTE: You can also add vegetables to make it a well-rounded one-dish dinner. Sugar Snap Peas, Peas, Broccoli, spinach, etc.. all will go well with this dish.
You can make this without the chicken or ham to make this vegetarian. You can use Vegetable stock instead of chicken stock as well to thin out the sauce and/or add more flavor.