Pasta and Goat Cheese Casserole with Black Olives

pasta goat cheese casserole

My rich and robust pasta and Feta cheese casserole always leaves an impression with my dinner guests who never seem to tire of this classic. I don't make it very often precisely because it is a bit too rich for frequent fare. However, as winter descends on us cold subjects, comfort food is in order. I made a few changes to my original recipe, specifically using creamy and tangy goat cheese instead of Feta and adding some sun-dried tomatoes and dried mixed mushrooms with a bit of spice. This version is just as decadent as my original recipe.

I was thinking of serving the casserole with some buttered crusty bread but I thought that would be carb overload, so instead I served it with some fresh salad greens dressed with lemon olive oil, champagne vinegar, white balsamic vinegar, grainy Dijon mustard and some fresh cracked black pepper.

Pasta and Goat Cheese Olive Casserole

Pasta and Goat Cheese Casserole with Black OlivesPasta and Goat Cheese Casserole with Black Olives
Recipe by
Published on November 14, 2012

A rich, creamy and flavorful pasta casserole loaded with tangy goat cheese, olives, tomatoes and mushrooms and seasoned with spices and herbs

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 50 to 55 minutes

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  • 1/2 pound dried shell pasta (4 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 oz (14 g) dried mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
  • 2 to 3 fresh green chilies or jalapeƱos, seeded and sliced
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 15 oz (420 g) soft unripened goat cheese, chopped or crumbled
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water to al dente according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water, toss with olive oil and set aside.

  • Meanwhile, soak the sun-dried tomatoes and dried mushrooms in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain and chop.

  • Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, garlic, roasted red pepper and chilies or jalapeƱos. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Next, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes more.

  • Whisk the milk and yogurt together and add to the pan along with the sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, tomato, chili powder, cayenne and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

  • Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, along with the goat cheese, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the olives and fresh or dried herbs. Stir to combine, adding more milk if the sauce is too thick, and transfer the mixture to a 9 × 13 baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan over the top of the casserole. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until the casserole is hot and the top is browned and bubbling. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

pasta and goat cheese olive casserole

More satisfying pasta dishes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach
Rye Pasta with a Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce and Goat Cheese
Spinach Pesto Pasta
Greek Macaroni and Cheese

On the top of the reading stack: Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India by Chandra Padmanabhan

Audio Accompaniment: ambient bliss

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