Penne Pasta and Pear Salad

Penne Pasta and Pear Salad

Many years ago I had a phenomenal meal at a restaurant in South Park. Though the restaurant is long gone, ever since that one incredible Pasta and Pear dish, I have loved using blue cheese and pears in my pasta dishes. One in particular. Fresh sage too if you have it!

I found this recipe on I did a bit of tweaking to the recipe and was surprised that the photo didn’t look anything like how mine looked. That aside, the balsamic vinegar on mine really came through. And instead of walnuts, I used pine nuts that I toasted (love pine nuts……..heck love walnuts too but…..) and it really worked out well.

I didn’t have arugula but just doubled the spinach (actually more like tripled it).  I did have the goat cheese so I did half goat cheese and half blue cheese to see the effect. Depending on what your preference is, use what you like best. 

It was a great summer pasta dish served either chilled or room temperature. The pears were just delicious, as always.

Penne with Roasted Pear, Goat Cheese and Walnuts
Posted by Emily in Mediterranean recipes, Nuts, Pasta, Vegetarian. April 29, 2008

Serves 4-6
8 oz. pasta, such as penne
2 Bosc pears, ripe but firm (firmer varieties of pears work best)
1 tablespoon plus 3 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup baby arugula (rocket)
1/2 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
Pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 425° F. Slice the pear into thin wedges, leaving the skin on and removing the center core. Toss with one tablespoon of olive oil, coating lightly, then place in baking dish and roast in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, stir again, and return to oven for an additional 5 minutes. Allow to cool, then cut into smaller bite sized pieces.
Mix together the remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil with the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Cook penne according to package directions. Drain pasta and mix in the olive oil-vinegar-lemon juice mixture, then mix in the chopped pears, arugula and baby spinach. If desired, add a little sea salt to taste. Divide among plates and top with crumbled goat cheese and chopped walnut pieces.
Option: Skip the pasta and just serve with extra greens as a salad.

It was a Napa kind of morning so I wore my Napa Apron. And I listened to some great jazz music.

Bon Appetit!