Inspiration for the this pasta is all over the internet, some claim it’s a Martha Stewart creation. The original uses kale, bacon and Parmesan cheese which sounded really good to me, whoever is responsible. However, I’m not cooking alone here, I have to work with the freezer and refrigerator :)
Speaking of working with others: I constantly saw references to chef Gordon Ramsey’s television show on Facebook, so yesterday I finally looked at a couple of excerpts on YouTube but turned them off, tout de suite. I didn’t see the entertainment value in watching one person verbally abuse another. I don’t get it, I thought it would be about cooking like Julia Child, instead of a voyeuristic, Marquis de Sade “reality” show. Anyway.
Many times, in both Africa and France, someone determined that because I was American, I couldn’t speak French and that they would not be able to understand a word I was saying, so they stopped listening. I always considered this the height of narrow-mindedness and abused them in my mind. Well guys, I was in a German store looking for goat cheese and because it was a German store, I decided that I would not be able to understand anything I read, so I didn’t read. If I had I would have noticed that 1) This package is written in French. 2) Bourdin is a well known French supplier of goat cheese products. 3) This goat cheese had honey in it. Boy Howdy :(
However, “one monkey don’t stop no show” and as the taste of honey was light, I used the cheese anyway. Good choice. You can make this with plain, but the light honey flavor complimented the pasta. In fact, it was delicious.
Ham, Spinach and Goat Cheese Orecchiette
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cups baked ham, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
4 enormous handfuls of baby spinach
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
Salt and black pepper
1 lb orecchiette pasta, cooked and hot (1/4 cup cooking liquid reserved)
1 cup goat cheese, plain or with honey, crumbled
1 large tomato, seeded and diced
Cook the shallots and ham in the olive oil until the ham begins to brown. Add the sundried tomatoes and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted. Stir in the crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper. Set aside.
Cook the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain, then stir the spinach mixture into the hot pasta with the reserved cooking liquid. Add the goat cheese and tomatoes and toss. Serve immediately.