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.