Pasta with black olive tapenade and goat cheese

Here’s another recipe from my pasta-making class. My teacher said, “Tapenade makes a flavorful and light topping for fresh pasta. The briny flavors of the olives and capers hold up against the tangy creaminess of the goat cheese.”

This makes four servings.

For the tapenade:
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, rinsed and chopped
1/4 cup capers, rinsed
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for pasta
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the pasta:
1 pound pappardelle (or other pasta)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 3 cups baby spinach sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
6 ounces crumbled goat cheese at room temperature

To make tapenade:
Combine the olives, capers, garlic, anchovy and parsley in a food processor, and pulse until roughly chopped. Add the oil, lemon zest and juice and pulse until well combined. Set aside.
To cook pasta:
Heat a large pot of water over high heat until boiling. Add enough kosher salt to season the water like sea water. Add the pasta, and stir to separate the noodles. Cook until pasta al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes if it’s fresh pasta. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta through a colander. Then, in a large skillet over medium-high heat combine the tapenade, spinach, tomatoes, hot pasta and 1/2 cup reserved pasta water, toss to coat pasta thoroughly with tapenade. Add additional olive oil and remaining pasta water to adjust consistency as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
To serve:
Divide the pasta between four bowls, and top with toasted pine nuts and goat cheese.

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