This recipe from Milk Street is your answer for a creamy pasta sauce that won't get grainy or stringy, and it skips the cream.

The notion was simple. The heat of freshly cooked pasta, a splash of its cooking water, and the addition of extra-virgin olive oil, dissolve the cheese making a rich, smooth sauce filled with flavor.

Gemelli Pasta with Chevre, Arugula and Walnuts

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Servings: 4


  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound Gemelli or Casarecce pasta
  • 4 ounces chevre (fresh goat cheese)
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 4 ounces baby arugula (about 4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives


Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cheese, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and red pepper flakes, stirring and mashing with a fork until smooth. Drain the pasta, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water, then return the pasta to the pot.

Add the arugula, goat cheese mixture, and reserved pasta cooking water, then toss until the cheese mixture is evenly distributed, and the arugula begins to wilt.

Stir in the walnuts and chives, reserving a tablespoon of each for garnish, if desired, then season with salt and red pepper flakes. Transfer the pasta to a warmed serving bowl, then garnish with the remaining walnuts and chives.