This is my give-me-a-break-from-candy-canes dinner.

30 Minute Caramelized Shallot, Spinach and Goat Cheese Garlic Butter Pasta I

My no-more-cookies-and-it’s-only-the-second-week-of-December dinner.

The it’s-the-holiday-season-so-I’m-on-a-dinner-making-strike-until-January dinner.

The truth is that.

I need a dinner intervention.

Big time.

The last few weeks, my dinner ideas have been totally SHOT. As in… not even there. Not even existing. My dinner brain is one giant black hole of nothingness. Empty. Deserted. Destitute. So full of nothing that I had to resort to a thesaurus.

The sad part is that I even knew it was coming! I predicted it. Mentioned it a few weeks ago and started brainstorming ideas in order to prevent such catastrophe and then, no.

30 Minute Caramelized Shallot, Spinach and Goat Cheese Garlic Butter Pasta I

It doesn’t matter that I have this… arsenal, per say… of nearly one thousand recipes in the form of predictable ramblings to my invisible internet friends. My brain has just quit working when it comes to ingesting good food after 3PM.

I practically can’t even heat something up in the microwave. The holidays put me in a holidaze and paralyze my mind to the point where I just eat some cheese and kale chips and a handful of peanuts while I sit in front of my computer.

I can hear 2003 calling and asking for their college dinners back.

30 Minute Caramelized Shallot, Spinach and Goat Cheese Garlic Butter Pasta I

So before I hit you with an onslaught of more party food, I made us an easy dinner. Even though at the time I took these photos it was a proper breakfast, which is half the battle, but let’s not talk about that.

The other leeeeeeettle problem may be that someone in this house got me addicted to House of Cards and we might have spend eight solid hours watching it. And doing nothing else.

(besides ordering pizza.)

This pasta is the easiest thing to come out of my kitchen lately and it only takes 30 minutes. It’s packed with flavor but not a ton of ingredients – chances are you have most of them on hand or at least something slightly resembling them. All it takes to reeeeeally make me happy is some brown butter, goat cheese and green stuff to make me feel adult-like and stuff. You know. Necessities.

30 Minute Caramelized Shallot, Spinach and Goat Cheese Garlic Butter Pasta I


30 Minute Caramelized Shallot, Spinach and Goat Cheese Garlic Butter Pasta

Yield: serves 2 to 4

Total Time: 30 minutes


1/2 pound pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
12 ounces fresh spinach
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes


Bring water to a boil for pasta and prepare according to directions.

While the water is coming to a boil, heat a large skillet over low heat and add olive oil. Add the shallots and salt, stirring to coat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the brown sugar and cook for 5 minutes more. Be sure that the pasta is cooking by this time.

Add the spinach to the skillet with the shallots and toss. Stir continuously until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Whisk constantly until the butter begins to brown. The minute you see brown bits appear in the bottom of the skillet, remove it from heat and whisk for another 15 seconds. Add the minced garlic to the brown butter and whisk for 30 seconds.

Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the spinach and shallots. Toss well, then add the garlic brown butter and toss again. Crumble the goat cheese into the pasta and stir. Sprinkle with the crushed red pepper. Serve immediately.

30 Minute Caramelized Shallot, Spinach and Goat Cheese Garlic Butter Pasta I

Also, squiggly cute little pasta: making Mondays better since… now.

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83 Responses to “Caramelized Shallot, Spinach and Goat Cheese Garlic Butter Pasta.”

  1. #
    Betsy — December 9, 2013 @ 8:20 am

    I am not a fan of goat cheese. What would be the best substitute?


    • Brie @ Entrée the Giant — December 9th, 2013 @ 9:39 am

      Sorry to butt in, but I’m wondering if cream cheese (low fat or regular) would work as a sub. What do you think, How Sweet Eaters?


    • Jessica — December 9th, 2013 @ 10:00 am

      if you want something creamy like the goat cheese, then mascarpone or cream cheese would prob be your best bet. but you can really use whatever cheese you’d like!


      • Grace — December 9th, 2013 @ 9:39 pm

        I cooked this tonight with a little twist and it was delicious! Betsy, I’m also not a big fan of goat cheese, so I substituted crumbled feta and also added some mushrooms. It was great – the red pepper flakes add such a nice kick to it.

    • Christopher — December 11th, 2013 @ 11:40 pm

      A different recipe.


  2. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — December 9, 2013 @ 8:22 am

    Your squiggly little noodles are so cute! I don’t eat a ton of pasta but I love looking at some of the cool shapes in gourmet food shops. And I hear ya on the dinner inspiration… I may have had the same thing every.single.night last week. Woops!


  3. #
    Tieghan — December 9, 2013 @ 8:58 am

    Garlic butter, pasta, goat cheese? Yup, my kind of break from the candy meal!!


  4. #
    Lucy B — December 9, 2013 @ 9:00 am

    Anything with goats cheese and you’ve got me hooked!! Add some carbs and I’m in heaven! Just pinned this one for dinner soon.


  5. #
    Laura — December 9, 2013 @ 9:02 am

    Nice! I think I’ll make this tonight as a side dish for the chicken I’m defrosting. Will be a nice change from the boooooooring rice we usually have.


  6. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — December 9, 2013 @ 9:21 am

    All we need is my face and a shovel.


  7. #
    Melissa — December 9, 2013 @ 9:25 am

    I LOVE the kind of pasta you used in this recipe! It makes it look incredible!


  8. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — December 9, 2013 @ 9:29 am

    I could eat pasta dishes like this all day. Seriously, they are my fave. But yeah, I’ve been on a dinner rut for like 8 months now…so I feel you.

    And I’ve been meaning to start watching House of Cards–but I heard that none of the characters are really all that likeable? Is that true?


  9. #
    Hannah — December 9, 2013 @ 9:37 am

    I love goat’s cheese and spinach, so I’ll definitely be trying this! Thank you for the recipe xx


  10. #
    Brie @ Entrée the Giant — December 9, 2013 @ 9:42 am

    I have had the worst case of kitchen apathy lately – this time of year, I spend so much time making sweets, apps (the edible kind) and other good stuff – so, suppers kind of pale in comparison.


  11. #
    Belinda@themoonblushbaker — December 9, 2013 @ 10:09 am

    The type of pasta you used is so pretty! I find when i am in a dinner rut i like to look at the different shapes of pasta to inspire me. Nothing is more exciting than to cook with new ingredients


  12. #
    Erin | The Law Student's Wife — December 9, 2013 @ 10:17 am

    You mean I can’t live on cookies and sticky buns alone?? Seriously, so glad you posted this. I go into similar dinner brain freezes at the holidays (don’t even ask me how many nights we ate emergency quesadillas last week), so it’s nice to have some inspiration that won’t take too much effort to throw together between batches of…more cookies.


  13. #
    Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate — December 9, 2013 @ 10:21 am

    I love the shape of that pasta. I have never seen it before although it reminds me of cavatappi without the ridges.


  14. #
    Marie @ Little Kitchie — December 9, 2013 @ 10:33 am

    This is the kind of dinner I could eat every night. You had me sold at goat cheese!


  15. #
    Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche — December 9, 2013 @ 10:38 am

    Ohhh yum. Another incredible recipe – love how simple the flavours are but they all go together so well. I was sold as soon as I saw ‘garlic butter’, NOM! Sharing!


  16. #
    Laura @fivefocus — December 9, 2013 @ 10:52 am

    I agree with Lucy! If there’s Goats Cheese i’m already in love.
    Can you please make a cookie that includes Goats Cheese? And coconut… true bliss.

    LOVE squiggly pasta…I think it makes dishes taste better when the pasta shapes are fun.


  17. #
    Becky @ A Calculated Whisk — December 9, 2013 @ 11:02 am

    GAH I love that picture of the goat cheese. I need to go buy some stat! I am also a fan of House of Cards, and Homeland. If anyone had ever told me I would get that excited for shows about politics/DC/other hardcore things like that I never would have believed it…drastic things have happened to me since Gossip Girl ended!


  18. #
    18 — December 9, 2013 @ 11:04 am

    Oh man…I am right there with you. I’m not sure we’ve eaten a proper meal since Thanksgiving…and we ORDERED that!!! Ugh.

    THIS I need in my life. My FAMILY needs a real meal. And, pasta + goat cheese wins every time!!!


  19. #
    dervla @ the curator — December 9, 2013 @ 11:09 am

    yay for House of Cards … just finished it last night!


  20. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — December 9, 2013 @ 11:24 am

    no-more-cookies-and-it’s-only-the-second-week-of-December <— you too? I thought it was just me :)

    This looks wonderful and I love that pasta! It's what my hair is doing down here in Aruba in this humidity :)


  21. #
    Ashley — December 9, 2013 @ 11:30 am

    Loving this! So simple and so much flavor. My meals have been pretty lame lately, too. — Haven’t watched House of Cards yet. Still working through Breaking Bad..


  22. #
    betty — December 9, 2013 @ 11:53 am

    the cute little squiggly pasta seriously makes this.


  23. #
    Brita — December 9, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

    OMG. This looks SO amazing. Seriously, I want to make this right now and eat all of it. I’m definitely saving this for a dinner in the near future. Thanks! :)


  24. #
    Kim — December 9, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

    Wow!! I had gotten into this very same groove. I would just snack for most of the evening…I didn’t really have a “hungry” for anythihg. I finally just started forcing myself to make a soup each evening. Still didn’t really want it, but the snacking was getting out of hand.


  25. #
    Audrey — December 9, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

    This looks amazing! (aka, like something I could actually make). I feel ya on the House of Cards addiction — SUCH a great show! Thanks for the dinner help; I can really use it this time of year :)


  26. #
    Amanda — December 9, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

    This looks so yummy! Agree about the cute little squiggly pasta!


  27. #
    Frances — December 9, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

    What, no bacon?


  28. #
    Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs — December 9, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

    Those are the cutest darn pasta noodles I’ve ever seen. Ever. :)


  29. #
    Eileen — December 9, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

    Yes! Pasta, cheese, and hearty green veg is one of my favorite combinations ever. And it’s definitely a nice break from the sugar shock of the season! :)


  30. #
    DessertForTwo — December 9, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

    I make something similar when we’re low on supplies and it’s too cold to go grocery shopping. So good! And so easy. I love the shape of those noodles!

    Can you help me get off of the Christmas cookies for dinner meal plan? I’m stuck.


  31. #
    Morgan — December 9, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

    Looks fabulous, I am a HUGE fan of goat cheese (but only if it’s from TJ’s because it’s cheap)


  32. #
    Reggie — December 9, 2013 @ 5:46 pm

    This looks amazing, I can’t wait to try it. I still cannot get over how great your photos look either!


  33. #
    Jess @ Keeping It Real Food — December 9, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

    This looks awesome! I hear what you mean about the dinner strike—I just made a ton of chili and other things this weekend. My freezer is ready for the madness, even if I am not.


  34. #
    Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg — December 9, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

    Oh yeah, my kinda pasta- garlic, butter, goat cheese.


  35. #
    ATasteOfMadness — December 9, 2013 @ 11:39 pm

    Ooh, I hear you. It’s been sandwiches for dinner for the past few nights.
    Now this looks like something I could get behind. I love this!


  36. #
    cheyenne — December 10, 2013 @ 5:45 am

    sounds amaaazing! i’m going to make this, definitely! i have a new found love for goat’s cheese, so finding new recipes is always a plus!
    xo, cheyenne


  37. #
    Krysten — December 10, 2013 @ 10:12 am

    I swear it’s like you are writing my life! I haven’t actually made a dinner in forever — last night consisted of throwing together a gyro with store-bought gyro meat. And lunch is even worse! I’m lucky if there’s some deli meat in the fridge!


  38. #
    Nicocobell — December 10, 2013 @ 11:08 am

    I love House of Cards! I also binge-watched it! I can’t wait till the next “season” comes out. I bought the DVD’s for my parents for Christmas to get them hooked on it.

    Also this pasta dish looks fantastic, I love easy dishes!


  39. #
    Alyssa — December 10, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

    Argghghh this is killing me because I was thisclose to buying goat cheese when I went shopping this weekend! But I was already at the top of my grocery budget and I really didn’t have anything to use it for… I just wanted it because I love it, but of course that’s not enough reason for me to spend $6 on like four ounces of cheese so I didn’t. And now I want to make this.
    And of course it’s snowing and disgusting and cold and messy outside, so it’s not even like I’m willing to go to the store when I get out of work tonight. Seriously, I’m going straight home. Ugh. Life is so hard.


  40. #
    Alexe @ Keys to the Cucina — December 10, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

    I love this combination of flavors. Pasta is the best quick meal too!


  41. #
    Brenda — December 11, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    I made this for dinner last night. It was beyond good! I brought some in for lunch today and could barely wait to eat it. Tomorrow I’m making the brussel sprout lasagna. My husband says thank you. He hasn’t eaten this good in a long time.


  42. #
    Erin — December 11, 2013 @ 4:56 pm

    I had a snow day/day off from work yesterday and my husband and I definitely sat and watched the first 8 episodes of House of Cards… in one sitting. SO GOOD!! I live in DC so it’s extra amusing to watch because unfortunately a lot of the storyline is kinda true :)


  43. #
    Lori — December 13, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

    Wow, this looks SO YUMMY! And exactly what my big family would love. Totally making this ASAP!


  44. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — December 15, 2013 @ 1:46 pm

    Doing a happy dance because I have every single ingredient on hand. Hello dinner!


  45. #
    Amanda Z — December 16, 2013 @ 8:58 pm

    This is delicious! I loved it so much, so flavorful!! I freaking love goat cheese, so I was all over this recipe as soon as I saw it. Because my hubby can’t fathom a dinner that doesn’t have meat in it, I cooked a half pound of Italian sausage and mixed it in the very end. It ended up being very good, thanks for a yummy and easy dinner!!


  46. #
    tasia — December 17, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

    i just haddd to tell you. I made this the other night and it actually made my terrible gluten free pasta taste not so terrible!! the brown sugar is such a great added touch to the shallots and the touch of red pepper flakes at the end are perfect. great recipe! i will be using it for a very long time in the rotation!


  47. #
    Christina — December 20, 2013 @ 11:09 am

    What type of pasta is this? I made it last night with penne and it was delicious!


  48. #
    Chris — December 22, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

    We love food. We never reply. This recipe changed my mind on making a comment on food sites!

    Try this people – it is wonderful!!


  49. #
    Christina — December 24, 2013 @ 1:07 am

    This was so good that I’ve already had it twice in the last two weeks! It makes a really hearty and flavorful meal without being heavy. I used whole wheat spirals to make myself feel leas guilty about stuffing my face. So good! I feel like some cherry tomatoes tossed in with the hot pasta could even add something to this already perfect dish. Will try next time (I.e. in a few days?? :))


  50. #
    Katie — December 30, 2013 @ 12:41 am

    I just finished making this for my boyfriend and I and we have to admit, this is the dish of the year. I usually do not comment on people’s posts, but I just had to this time. This was just delicious. Definitely going in my favorite recipes box! :D



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