Thursday, March 4, 2010

Goat Cheese, Yes Please

Thursday night is often Pasta Night around here, because it's a kind of hectic evening. I do car pool after school and then hustle E off to tap class while C has guitar lessons. So I need to either have something in the crock pot ready to go, or I need to cook something that takes less than 45 minutes start to finish. (That's the window between dropping E off at the studio and having to run back to get her.) I like to mix it up; as good as marinara and meatballs are, we get sick of them pretty quick.

While browsing online for ideas, I found out this: when goat cheese comes in contact with hot pasta it melts into a perfect sauce.

Why the hell did this not occur to me before? OF COURSE it does. Goat cheese is so soft that it will melt at a much lower heat point than cheese made from cow's milk. Just leave some out on the table in the summer and you'll see what I mean. Bonus: goat milk is higher in protein than cow milk and gentler on people who have lactose intolerance.

So I stuck my head into the fridge and came up with this pasta dish. It was a huge hit, and I will definitely make it again.

Rotini With Sausage And Goat Cheese

16 oz whole wheat pasta
10.5 oz package goat cheese

28 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice, drained

1 head's worth or 1 package broccoli florets

1 small red onion, diced

1 T chopped garlic

2 T chopped fresh oregano

1# sausage (I used lamb), casings removed, crumbled

1/4 c reserved cooking water

Cook pasta according to package directions. Right before the pasta is done and ready to drain, dip a measuring cup in and pull out some of the cooking water. (You want the starch and salt in the water to help make the sauce.) Set aside. Toss the broccoli florets right in with the cooking pasta, lower the heat to medium, and cover. Cook for about a minute and drain the whole deal.

While the pasta is cooking, brown the sausage in a large skillet or wok - while breaking it up into smaller with a spoon. When the sausage has browned, add the onions and garlic. Cook until soft, 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir, cook another minute or so. Add fresh oregano.
Toss the pasta/broccoli with the sausage/tomato. Crumble in the goat cheese, give it a couple tosses with a spoon, add the cooking water, and stir until all of the goat cheese is evenly melted. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: Depending on the fat content of your sausage, you may want to drain the pan before adding the vegetables. Mine was really lean, so I didn't have to do that.


bugsboysandbooboos said...

so, how do you think it would do with chicken sausage?
just think, when i am finally able to milk my goats...i'll have more milk, hence goat cheese, than i'll be able to deal with. i'll airmail it express to you. or buy a carrier pigeon. can they carry more than a slip of paper, do you think?

Holly said...

I think it would be great with any kind of sausage, as long as it's the kind that crumbles and not the hot-dog-consistency type.

I would drive to your house for goat cheese that fresh!

Felicia said...

this looks amazing! I definitely need to try it out!

my mom has a recipe for a fancy pasta salad (always seems like an oxymoron to me) with goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette, artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts. It is so creamy and delicious, and relatively healthy, considering how decadent it tastes.

Eric said...

As a random comment a) that sounds delicious, and pretty close to one of my usual favourite pasta dishes, and b) when you toss in the tomatoes, try adding a god shot of red wine vinegar - for me, it always seems to help speed along a quick sauce, and help the flavours smooth out when time is an issue.

Also, yeah, I second the thought that chicken sausage could work, but it would depend on the spicing of the sausage. Lamb / pork sausages tend to somewhere along the spicy / savoury spectrum, but with chicken, there seems to be a little more creativity, sometimes almost into the sweet end of the scale.