Goat Cheese Spread with Honey

When you have guests and want to serve adult beverages and a snack, cheese, fruit and crackers are perfect.  I was hoping to find the fresh goat cheese spread that our favorite party store usually carries but they were all out.  I have a few good hard, savory, even stinky cheeses to serve but wanted a milder, spreadable cheese.  Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention.  I put together a real simple, 4 ingredient spread that tastes pretty darn good.  Unlike cream cheese, goat cheese has a little kick or zing.  But if you’re one of those people who dislike goat cheese, cream cheese would work in this recipe.

Ingredients:

10 oz package goat cheese at room temperature

8 oz lemon (or plain) yogurt

zest of one lemon

2 T honey plus a little more to drizzle

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until everything is incorporated.

Use a spatula to transfer the spread to a serving container and refrigerate.

Before you refrigerate, have a sample first.  Because a good cook tastes everything before serving their guests.

Drizzle wth a little more honey before serving.  Enjoy!

NOTE:  Like I mentioned earlier, this would also be good with cream cheese as well…might taste a little like a bite of cheese cake actually.  You can add a little more zest or honey based on your personal tastes.  May also be good with a little fresh mint or thyme mixed in.

 

Roasted Vegetable and Prosciutto Tart

The inspiration for this recipe came from the Fall 2017 issue of Cook Fresh.  When I’m in the supermarket checkout line I’m always looking at the tabloid headlines with the latest movie star gossip and the women’s magazines that have pictures of gorgeous desserts and promises that you can lose 15 pounds in 15 days.  I’m always in the slowest moving lane at the grocery so I have plenty of time to read.  I spotted this Cook Fresh magazine on the very bottom of the rack and it was the only copy left.  The vegetable tart was on the cover so I picked it up and put it in my cart.  Sold.  I modified the recipe somewhat.  The real beauty of this is you can use any vegetables you have on hand or just add or omit based on personal preference.  These are the ingredients and quantities I used.

Ingredients for Filling:

2 cups of cubed butternut squash

1 cup of thin sliced leeks (white and light green parts only)

1 cup of course chopped sweet bell peppers

1 cup of course chopped cauliflower

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

1 T of fresh rosemary minced (I only had dried)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes halved

4 oz of prosciutto in bite sized pieces

2 T olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

10 oz goat cheese softened

grated asiago

1 egg

Ingredients for the Crust:

1 1/3 cups AP flour

6 oz of cold unsalted butter cubed

6 oz of cold cream cheese cubed

1 tsp kosher salt

2 T cold water

Preheat the oven to 375.  Combine all of the vegetables (except the tomatoes) and toss with the olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.

Spread the vegetables out in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.

While the vegetables are cooking and cooling prepare your crust.  Preheat the oven to 400 once the vegetables are out.    Pulse the flour, salt, cream cheese and butter in the food processor until it starts to come together.

If necessary add a little cold water.  Put the dough on a generously floured service and knead.  Form the dough into a ball.

Roll the dough out into a 16 inch round.  Place the round on parchment paper and spread with the softened goat cheese.

Halve the tomatoes and dice the prosciutto.  Toss them with the vegetables.

Heap the vegetables and prosciutto on the goat cheese leaving about a two inch border.  Sprinkle with a little shredded asiago cheese.

Fold the edges of the dough over the edge of the filling.  Whisk together one egg and a tablespoon of water and brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash.

Bake for 35-45 minutes until the crust is golden brown.  Allow the tart to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Slice and serve with a fresh fruit cup or salad.  We had ours with a side of applesauce.

NOTE:  I put the goat cheese in the microwave for a few seconds on the defrost setting so that it would spread on the crust more easily.

Any combination of vegetables equaling 5 cups is the perfect proportion (not including the tomatoes).  Brussel sprouts, carrots, golden beets, sweet potato, fennel, broccoli…any of those would work.  I used nearly triple the goat cheese called for in the original recipe and I thought that was perfect.  You can also change up the herbs and use basil, oregano or dill.

The Cook Fresh magazine was a great impulse buy!!!

 

 

Rigatoni with Goat Cheese, Sausage and Summer Squash

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This pasta dish has few ingredients but the flavor combination is perfect.  The goat cheese and spicy sausage give this dish a very rich grown up taste. It’s a dish that will impress guests when served with some good bread and a nice crisp salad. I have made this a couple of times and it’s received rave reviews. And if there are leftovers they reheat nicely.

Ingredients:

1 pound dried rigatoni noodles

3 T olive oil

1 pound hot Italian sausage

1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

4 zucchini and/or yellow summer squash diced

6 oz goat cheese crumbled

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup asiago cheese shredded

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Cook pasta according to package instructions.

In a heavy skillet heat 1 T of olive oil. Remove the casings and break up sausage and cook over medium heat until no longer pink.

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Remove the sausage to a strainer over a plate and allow the fat to drain off. Remove most of the fat from the skillet. Add 2 T of olive oil and and cook the shallots and garlic over medium low heat until tender, 1-2 minutes.

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Increase the heat a little and add the cubed squash and cook 3-5 minutes. Add the sausage back into the skillet and keep warm.

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Set aside 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and stir into the sausage, squash mixture. Over medium heat toss the pasta and sausage. Add the pasta water a little at a time…continue adding to keep the pasta moist. Heat for 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the goat cheese and parsley. Toss until the cheese melts and coats the rigatoni. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the grated asiago.

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Voila!  It’s that simple. Isn’t that a beautiful dish!  I served this and a red pasta dish together. Always trying to make sure there is something for everyone. Everyone choose BOTH dishes.

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You could use penne pasta for this recipe if that’s what you have on hand. I think the next time I make this I will add some mushrooms along with the squash. Both of my pasta dishes had generous amounts of garlic. No vampires in our house!  But you can rein the garlic back if you’d like. I always consider recipes, particularly for savory dishes, as a template that invites us to make modifications and personalize the dish.

Rigatoni with goat cheese, it’s what was for dinner last night AND tonight.