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Whole Wheat Cilantro Pasta + Goat Cheese Pepita Sauce

Whole Wheat Cilantro Pasta + Goat Cheese Pepita

I’ve heard that, in Italy, Mama waits until the family is seated before dropping her pasta into the boiling water. I follow that strategy. Fresh homemade pasta cooks very quickly. When guests bite into this whole wheat cilantro pasta with goat cheese and pepita sauce, they understand why timing is everything.

Fresh homemade pasta is super easy when you use a food processor and pasta machine. And so worth it. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare the dough and no more than 20 minutes to crank it through the rollers. In very short time, you can be serving the most tender, ‘blow-your-guests-away’ silken pasta.

Whole Wheat Cilantro Pasta + Goat Cheese Pepita

Not ready to make your own noodles? You can savor this easy goat cheese sauce with cilantro and pepitas over quality purchased pasta. Mixing the sauce takes less time than it takes to boil water! Now that’s a quick and simple dinner.

My old pasta machine has been resurrected from years of neglect–I’m on a fresh pasta rediscovery kick. Recently I mixed rosemary pasta with caramelized onions and walnuts. It was awesome. I also made basic egg pasta without herbs and sauced it with roasted cherry tomatoes. My latest is this whole wheat cilantro pasta cut into broad ribbons, called pappardelle.

Whole Wheat Cilantro Pasta + Goat Cheese Pepita

Last month I went all out. I dressed cilantro pappardelle with roasted corn, slivers of poblano chiles, crumbled feta, pepitas and avocado. Our guests were just back from a wedding in Tuscany and gave me a very nice compliment. Ed, the father of the bride, said, “We ate pasta all over Italy, and came back to the best–made by a little lady in Park City.” That made my night.

Just as in an Italian farmhouse, make sure guests are seated before your fresh pasta goes into the pot.

Whole Wheat Cilantro Pasta + Goat Cheese Pepita Sauce recipe details:

  • You can make fresh pasta weeks before cooking it. Freeze it soon after cutting, in a deep enough pan to protect the pasta from being broken or crushed.
  • These photos show whole wheat cilantro pasta cut with a pappardelle cutter, though I usually cut pasta ¼-inch noodle width. My pappardelle cutter is a separate attachment that cuts 1 ¾” ribbons with zigzag edges. Most hand crank machines come with a fettuccini noodle cutter and a very thin angel hair cutter.
  • My recipe instructions are for a pasta machine. To make, roll and cut pasta by hand, see this recipe, and or view this video detailing how.

Make it a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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Whole Wheat Cilantro Pasta + Goat Cheese Pepita
Whole Wheat Cilantro Pasta + Goat Cheese Pepita Sauce
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
2 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Begin your exploration of fresh pasta with this surprisingly easy recipe. If you wish, skip the cilantro and make basic egg pasta. Kids gobble it up with just melted butter.
Author: Letty Flatt
  • Pasta:
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 to 2 ¼ cup whole wheat flour (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon Real Salt
  • 3 eggs
  • Unbleached flour , as needed for rolling and cutting
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 6 ounces soft goat cheese
  • About 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup pepitas , lightly toasted (see note)
  1. Make the pasta:
  2. Mince the cilantro leaves in a food processor by turning the machine off and on about 6 times.
  3. Add 2 cups of the flour, the salt and the eggs, and process until the dough forms a ball. The dough should not be wet. If needed, add the remaining flour, about a tablespoon at a time, and process the dough until it comes together. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead it briefly until smooth and elastic. Shape into a round disk. Wrap in plastic and let rest, 30 minutes to an hour.
  4. Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Keep the unworked pieces covered.
  5. With a pasta machine or by hand, roll out the dough. (see note)
  6. Rolling the pasta:
  7. Set the rollers at the widest setting. Lightly dust flour on one piece of the dough and pass it through the rollers. Fold it into thirds, and put it through the rollers a second time. Repeat the folding and rolling a few more times until you have a smooth rectangle of dough. To prevent the dough from sticking to the machine, dust it lightly with flour as you roll it out—but don’t use more flour than necessary.
  8. Keep the rollers at the widest setting, and repeat that first roll with the remaining 7 portions of dough. (You can stack the rolled pieces on top of each other; just make sure they are dusted with enough flour to keep them from sticking together.)
  9. From this point on, roll the dough lengths without folding. Reset the rollers for the next thinner setting.
  10. Pass the dough through the rollers again until all 8 pieces are stretched as thin as possible. Again, you can stack the rolled pieces on top of each other, with enough flour to keep them from sticking together.
  11. Reset the rollers for the next thinner setting and roll the pieces out. If the lengths of dough stretch too long to manage, cut them in half before moving down to a thinner setting.
  12. Repeat the rolling process, using a thinner setting each round, until the dough is very thin, usually the last setting. (You want to be able to almost see the print of a magazine through the thin dough.)
  13. Cut the pasta with your choice of cutting attachment. When the cut strands come out the other end, catch them with your arm and/or a pasta rack stick. Let the pasta dry on the rack. Alternatively dry the pasta in loose nests on a tray, with ample flour to prevent sticking.
  14. To serve:
  15. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  16. In a large skillet, melt the butter on low flame. Add the goat cheese and water. Mix into a thin sauce, adding a bit more water if needed. Keep warm.
  17. When your guests are seated and waiting, drop the pasta into the boiling water. Cook it 30 seconds to a minute, or until it is firm to the bite (al dente.) Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the goat cheese. Add the chopped cilantro and roasted pumpkins seeds, tossing everything together gently. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes
  • Pepitas are pumpkin seeds—they’re medium dark green and delicious by either name.
  • I love the earthiness of whole wheat pasta and its healthier, whole grain aspect, but you can replace with a portion of, or all unbleached white flour.
  • These instructions are for a pasta machine. Check out this video detailing how to make, roll and cut pasta by hand.


  • I’m missing the gene that makes good pasta. I don’t know why. But this sauce is something I can handle. GREG Reply · 12 August, 2014

    • Letty

      Come to Park city–we will make some together. The welcome mat is out. Reply · 12 August, 2014

  • What a fun flavor. I really need to pull out my pasta maker too. Reply · 23 August, 2014

  • Perhaps I’m just missing something, since I’m browsing recipes when I really should be in bed- I see in your instructions to “Add the goat cheese and water” for the sauce, but nothing in the ingredients list actually telling me how much water to add… We’ve been on a fresh homemade pasta kick around here, and would love to try this recipe! Reply · 26 August, 2014

    • Letty

      Hi Queen of Waffles,
      Thanks for the note. Good curious eye you have. I just updated the recipe on the post adding 1/2 cup of water to the goat cheese.
      Happy pasta making! Reply · 27 August, 2014

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