1/8teaspooncrushed red pepper flakesor more or less to taste
1teaspoonkosher salt plus more to taste
1/4teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper plus more to taste
14-ounce log fresh goat cheese (chevre)** or, for a vegan version, 4 ounces of vegan cream cheese or vegan herbed cream cheese
1small bunch parsleychopped
Add all ingredients except the goat cheese and parsley (and any additional salt and pepper) to a large, heavy pot - I use a 7-quart dutch oven.
Place the pot over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. As soon as it comes to the rolling boil, set the timer for 9 minutes. Stir and toss with tongs as it cooks, stirring frequently for the first few minutes and then constantly as it thickens and begins to stick to the bottom of the pot. When the 9 minutes is up, the pasta should be tender and the sauce will have thickened slightly. If the pasta is not yet cooked, continue for one more minute. Remove from heat.
Crumble goat cheese into the pasta. Stir gently until melted and combined. Let sit for 5 minutes (at this point, the pasta will seem somewhat soupy, but it will thicken as it sits).
Stir and taste. Add additional salt and pepper if desired.
Divide between bowls and sprinkle parsley over the tops.
*Vegetable broth note: I suggest low-sodium broth so that you can better control the amount of salt. If you only have full-sodium broth on hand, I suggest omitting or greatly reducing the salt and then adding it at the end to taste.**Sour cream may be substituted for the goat cheese.
Substitute 4 ounces of your favorite vegan cream cheese. I'm partial to garlic and herb vegan cream cheese - fabulous in this! Coconut cream also works. Also delicious without any cream or cheese.
Follow dairy-free option and also make sure your pasta is egg-free.
Omit or greatly reduce the crushed red pepper flakes. You can sprinkle a few flakes over the top of the grown-ups' portions when serving, if you'd really like a bit of heat.
Use your favorite gluten-free pasta (I like brown rice pasta in this one!)