Thursday, October 11, 2007

"[Goat cheese] . . . Is there anything [it] can't do?"

With apologies to Homer Simpson for taking liberties with the quote.

I really do like pasta, and these gnocchetti were perfect for the sauce. This couldn't be much easier to make, and the goat cheese sauce concept offers lots of possibilities. The recipe:

- Boil pasta in salted water
- Have sauce ready by the time the pasta is done

- Goat cheese, broken into chunks (I used my standard, Purple Haze, but any decent one would do. For $3 they sell great little logs of a less revered, but still great, goat cheese at Gallucci's in Cleveland. Any excuse to go to that store is worth it-- Don't let the Euclid construction deter you.)
- Tomato, roughly diced
- Olive oil, extra virgin
- Parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Heat olive oil in a frying pan
- When oil is hot add tomato
- Cook down the tomato, pushing down on any big chunks with your cooking utensil once they soften
- Season
- Once oil and tomato mixture is combined, add a little bit of the starchy pasta water and mix
- When the basic tomato sauce is how you like it, reduce heat as low as it will go, add goat cheese, and stir well and constantly
- Once sauce is well combined add just-drained cooked pasta, mix well, and season, adding parsley
- Serve

It's all pretty basic. The key is not to overcook the goat cheese, which really isn't too difficult. As for other things to thicken with goat cheese, the technique works well with pan sauces made with stock and/or red wine. Same idea of lowering or turning off the heat and stirring the cheese in. It's worth going easy on the heat and taking your time making the sauce. Too much heat and the cheese separates--not very attractive or tasty.

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