Golden penne with goat's cheese

Mild and creamy goat's cheese is melted in saffron–infused white wine and mixed with fennel, olives and capers to make a golden–coloured sauce for pasta shapes. This easy dish comes with a simple mixed leaf salad.

Golden penne with goat's cheese


  • large pinch of saffron threads
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 400 g penne or other pasta shapes
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bulb of fennel, very thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup (60 g) pitted black olives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
  • 170 g soft goat's cheesesprigs of fresh marjoram, to serve
  • Mixed leaf salad 1 tablespoon
  • sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • 170 g mixed salad leaves such as oak leaf, rocket, red coral lettuce and trimmed watercress


  1. Crumble the saffron threads into a small mixing bowl.
  2. Heat the wine in a large, non–stick frying pan until steaming hot, then pour it over the saffron.
  3. Leave to infuse.
  4. Wipe out the frying pan with paper towel and set it aside.
  5. For the salad, combine the oil, orange juice and vinegar in a salad bowl.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and whisk to mix.
  7. Pile the salad leaves on top of the dressing, but do not toss.
  8. Set aside.
  9. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of rapidly boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
  10. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in the frying pan over a moderately high heat for 2–3 minutes, stirring constantly, until golden.
  11. Tip the pine nuts into a bowl and set aside.
  12. Heat the oil in the frying pan over a moderate heat and cook the sliced fennel for 5–6 minutes, or until soft.
  13. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute, stirring well.
  14. Stir in the olives, capers and chopped marjoram.
  15. Add the goat's cheese and the saffron–infused wine.
  16. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the cheese has melted smoothly into the liquid to make a sauce.
  17. Drain the pasta in a colander, then tip it into the frying pan.
  18. Gently toss to coat the pasta with the sauce.
  19. Spoon onto warmed serving plates, sprinkle with the toasted pine nuts and garnish with sprigs of fresh marjoram.
  20. Serve immediately, with the quickly tossed salad.

Serves 4
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: about 15 minutes



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