Hearty, Tangy Pasta with Balsamic Vinegar, Mushrooms, and Goat Cheese

When I come back from a long trip, I tend to crave certain meals.

Vertical image of a white bowl with cooked rigatoni with various garnishes next to a bowl of grated cheese, with text on the top and bottom.

I don’t know how many of you travel a lot, or how many of you take international trips. My husband I share a goal to always travel at least two to three times a year. One of those trips has to be international, and it has to be long.

When I get back from those trips, I find that I have missed so many of the foods that I eat on the regular. This includes food from my favorite burrito joint, a juicy burger, and a big bowl of pasta with some sort of balsamic sauce.

Balsamic vinegar is a huge weakness of mine, ever since college. I’ve mentioned this obsession in other recipe posts before.

This time there’s a new ingredient that’s coming to the party to make it even better:

Goat cheese.

Vertical image of two white bowls with cooked pasta and garnishes, next to bread slices and a glass of red wine.

Oh goat cheese, you are my favorite cheese by far. The tang, the creaminess, and the ample amounts of flavor it brings to any recipe are truly exceptional.

I could probably write a poem and recite it to a log of soft goat cheese… but, then again, I’d probably eat the cheese before I could get through the first two lines.

This pasta is the ideal marriage of heartiness and tang, one of the best that you could ever imagine.

If you love either, or both of these ingredients, you will fall in love with this pasta.

Vertical close-up image of a white bowl with cooked rigatoni and assorted garnishes on a blue patterned napkin next to a spoon in a bowl of grated cheese.

The rigatoni pasta provides for a nice mouthful of carbs, making it the ideal vehicle for the sauce and the vegetables that are included in the recipe. But why not think outside of the pasta box? Try our homemade recipes for potato gnocchi or spelt ravioli. They would both be hearty, delicious options for this dish!

Let’s talk about those vegetables. The combination of onions and mushrooms is one that is rich and flavorful, without overpowering the other ingredients in the dish. It’s the same combo I use in my other favorite rigatoni dish, Rigatoni Di Gregorio.

In fact, it’s the onions and mushrooms, along with the thick pasta noodles, that prevent this dish from becoming too tangy.

As we all know, balsamic vinegar and goat cheese are very tangy ingredients, each in their own way. You might think that combining them would provide too much of that lip-smacking tang, but it really doesn’t.

Vertical top-down image of two white bowls of creamy rigatoni on a blue patterned napkin, next to a glass of red wine, grated cheese in a bowl, and sliced bread.

Instead, it’s this wonderfully creamy blend that takes balsamic pasta to a whole new level. If you’ve had something similar in the past, you know the tangy flavor that I’m talking about. But you do not know (yet) what the creaminess of the cheese brings to the party.

It’s almost like macaroni and cheese…  but elevated, taken to a whole new place.

I literally cannot stop myself from eating an entire bowl and a half of this dish as soon as I make it. After one forkful, I just keep going back for bite after bite after bite.

Vertical image of a fork holding pasta, over a white dish with more of the same ingredients on a blue patterned napkin.

You will salivate and your taste buds will tingle between each mouthful, begging you to go back for more. All I can say is that the dinner table will definitely be quiet when you bust out this recipe, but it won’t be for a lack of things to talk about.

Everyone’s mouths will be full at every single second. Once every bowl is licked clean, that’s when the conversation will pick back up. You can bet it’ll start with an ode to your incredible culinary skills, of course.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Horizontal image of a white bowl with rigatoni on a blue patterned napkin next to bread slices and a glass of red wine.

Pasta with Balsamic Vinegar, Mushrooms, and Goat Cheese

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Get those taste buds dancing with this unique pasta with balsamic vinegar, mushrooms, and goat cheese.


  • 1 pound short, round pasta such as rotini or rigatoni
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or more to taste


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain in a colander. Place pasta into a large serving bowl and set aside.
  2. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until soft and beginning to turn translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until they have released most of their liquid.
  4. Add garlic to skillet and cook 1 minute more.
  5. Stir mushroom mixture into serving bowl with the drained pasta. Add goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil to bowl. Stir well to combine.
  6. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese as desired and serve warm.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: dinner, pasta, mushroom, garlic, goat cheese, balsamic vinegar

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Slice Vegetables, Mince Garlic, And Measure Remaining Ingredients

Horizontal image of ingredients to make a balsamic, mushroom, and goat cheese pasta dish.

Peel and slice one medium yellow onion. Tired of those tears? Check out our article on onion slicing techniques that may help you to say goodbye to those tears for good.

Wash the mushrooms well and slice.

Peel and mince two cloves of garlic. I like to use a garlic press to make short work of this.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed.

Step 2 – Cook Pasta

Horizontal image of cooked pasta next to cooked mushrooms in a metal bowl.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook according to package directions. You can also prepare this type of pasta in your electric pressure cooker.

Drain in a colander and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Step 3 – Cook Vegetables

Horizontal image of a pot with cooked mushrooms and onions.

While the pasta cooks, place a medium skillet over medium heat and melt the unsalted butter, tilting the pan to coat it.

Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and beginning to turn translucent. This will take about 5 minutes.

Stir in the mushrooms and saute until they are browned on both sides and have released most of their liquid. Stir occasionally throughout the cooking process, for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more, until its fragrance fills the air. You don’t want the garlic to burn, so don’t step away from the stove during this part.

Remove from heat.

Step 4 – Finish and Serve

Horizontal image of rigatoni and a creamy sauce with a wooden spoon stirring the mixture.

Add the mushroom mixture to the pasta. Stir to combine.

Stir in the goat cheese, vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil until well combined and the cheese has melted to create a creamy sauce.

Serve in bowls sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Horizontal top-down image of white bowls of a creamy pasta dish on a patterned blue towel next to a red bowl with grated cheese.

The Key to Balance

The key component to the balance of this dish is that you use a soft goat cheese that isn’t too funky. You’ll want it to be soft and creamy.

Be sure to stay away from aged goat cheese because it tends to be hardened and too pungent. Make sure to bring it to room temperature before you use it though, so it easily melts into the pasta mixture.

Horizontal image of a white bowl with rigatoni on a blue patterned napkin next to bread slices and a glass of red wine.

Do you need more balsamic-inspired recipes in your life? Here are some more to try:

The only question is, will you be eating this pasta recipe tonight, or tomorrow night? Maybe both? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to come back to rate the recipe when you’ve tried it as well.

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on September 16, 2012. Last updated: October 30, 2021 at 20:03 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

1 thought on “Hearty, Tangy Pasta with Balsamic Vinegar, Mushrooms, and Goat Cheese”

  1. This was good, and I needed something with a lot of balsamic as I have too much. I added a bit of extra mozzarella and fresh basil, and used red onion because that’s what I had.


Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.