The Three C’s

Junior year of college I studied abroad in Florence. While I was there, I fell in love with the Italian lifestyle and embraced all that it had to offer. From the wine and gelato, to the afternoon siestas, there was nothing not to adore.

My experience abroad is to blame for developing and perfecting my obsession for, what I call, The Three C’s: Chocolate, Cheese and Carbs. In Italy, the chocolate is a little richer, the cheese a bit creamier, and the carbs, aka pizza, pasta, pastries (The Three P’s!) are fresher, less processed and more decadent. I often reflect on my time abroad and dream of a day when I can revisit Italy, walk the cobblestone streets, drink the wine and indulge in The Three C’s.

That time has finally come! I am beyond ecstatic to share that my husband and I booked a trip to Italy for early spring. In celebration of our upcoming plans, I made Pasta with Tomatoes, Arugula, and Goat Cheese, which incorporated two of the three C’s. The pasta took virtually no time to make, yet it looked and tasted amazing. Dishes like this remind me that sometimes the best meals are the simplest meals with only a few, quality ingredients.

Although the Italian vacation is still a few months out, I already look forward to sharing the details of our adventure with you!

Pasta with Tomatoes, Arugula, and Goat Cheese

Source: Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Healthful Cooking

What You Need

  • 2 tablespoons, plus ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¾ pound cavatappi, fusilli or ziti (I used whole wheat fusilli)
  • 2 cups loosely packed arugula leaves
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, stemmed and cut in half
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup crumbled fresh goat cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

What To Do

  1. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil. Add the 2 tablespoons salt and the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving about ¼ cup of the cooking water, and place the pasta in a warmed serving bowl. Mix in the arugula and keep warm.
  2. Just before the pasta is ready, in a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the tomatoes and, holding the pan handle, roll the tomatoes around by jerking the pan toward you, then pushing it away. While the tomatoes cook, sprinkle them with the garlic. Keep tomatoes moving until their skins crack, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with ½ teaspoon of salt. Spoon the tomatoes over the pasta.
  3. Dollop the goat cheese, 1 tablespoon at a time, on top of the tomatoes. Using a large fork and spoon, toss to combine, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons, or more of the cooking water if the pasta seems dry. The goat cheese melts into a creamy sauce.
  4. Season with pepper and serve.

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