The original recipe calls for asparagus, but I've found that the few times I make it, the asparagus tends to overcook and leave a nasty, metallic taste, so I use broccoli instead and it tastes just as good. Also, the onion can be overpowering, so I would recommend cutting it in half.
- 3/4 pound orecchiette (I use rotini or shells, mainly b/c they're much less expensive!)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced (I use 1/4 onion)
- 3/4 pound medium asparagus spears, cut into 1/2-inch lengths (I used broccoli)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon snipped chives
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until just al dente. Drain the orecchiette, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderately low heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and crushed red pepper and cook over moderate heat until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the orecchiette and the reserved cooking water to the skillet along with the lemon juice and zest; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the orecchiette is al dente and the asparagus is just tender, about 2 minutes. Add the goat cheese and chives and stir until melted. Transfer the pasta to bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese.