Goat cheese teams with pasta, veggies

DINNER TONIGHT

December 13, 2006|By Joe Gray | Joe Gray,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

The tangy and creamy taste of fresh goat cheese lends itself to many cooking preparations, enhancing the flavor of many a vegetable, for example.

When paired with pasta, it's also a winner. You don't even have to cook the cheese because the heat from the finished pasta will melt it.

Our love for goat cheese seems to be widely shared as more varieties have been popping up. This recipe calls for plain, but you could experiment with those flavored with black pepper or herbs.

Joe Gray writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe analysis.

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Goat Cheese, Herbs and vegetable pasta

Serves 4 -- Total time: 32 minutes

1 pound pasta, such as cavatelli or penne

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 bulb onions or 2 medium white onions, coarsely chopped

1 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons fresh basil, sliced in thin strips

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Heat salted water to a boil in a stockpot over high heat; add pasta. Cook pasta, according to package instructions, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat; add onions.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions soften, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini, salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; keep warm.

Drain pasta; place in a serving bowl. Add sauteed vegetables, herbs and goat cheese, stirring gently until well blended and cheese has melted somewhat.

Per serving: 602 calories, 14 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 22 milligrams cholesterol, 93 grams carbohydrate, 23 grams protein, 442 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber

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