Thursday, January 8, 2009

Yummy Things

When I have a recipe that I make as much as this one, it is pretty mandatory that I share it for those of you who like to cook as much as I do.  

I found this in the October issue of Food and Wine and have played around with it numerous times to make it my own. Certainly, it is one of those 'go-to' recipes that gets used over and over because the possibilities on what you can do with it are endless.  It's relatively simple to prepare and the required ingredients are probably already in your kitchen.  VoilĂ , I propose dinner.  

Creamy Pasta with Tomato Confit and Fresh Goat Cheese


1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, for poaching
3 plum tomatoes—peeled, quartered and seeded
2 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
Kosher salt
1/2 pound ditalini or other small-cut pasta (1 1/2 cups)
3 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup soft fresh goat cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup tightly packed freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (2 1/2 ounces), plus more for serving
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons snipped chives
2 tablespoons finely shredded basil leaves

In a medium saucepan, combine the olive oil with the tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf and half of the garlic and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat until the tomatoes are very tender, about 15 minutes. Discard the thyme and bay leaf. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a work surface and coarsely chop them; reserve the olive oil for another use.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the pasta and cook, stirring, until golden in spots, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining garlic; cook for 1 minute.
Add 1/2 cup of the chicken stock to the pasta and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and cooking until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The pasta is done when it is al dente and suspended in a lightly thickened sauce, about 17 minutes total.
Stir the tomatoes into the pasta. Off the heat, add the goat cheese and Parmigiano-Reggiano and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the chives and basil and serve right away, passing additional Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table.

Notes:  I use pastini and it comes out as a wonderful alternative to risotto.  Also, when adding the goat cheese, start with half of what is called for as it can get way too thick.  A mushroom ragout, made with assorted mushrooms, some butter, garlic--whatever you have on hand works well also. 

Speaking of yummy things, I served dinner with this wonderful wine that I picked up at my local Whole Foods for $9.99.  Usually when I spend that little on a bottle, I am unimpressed but this was a wonderful drinking wine that you didn't have to think much about--just sip and enjoy knowing that it didn't break the bank.  Reminded me of what I was served at my local bistro while living in Paris.  Chateau de Paraza, 2005.  After further research, I found it has received high marks from just about everyone who gives out marks so I am off to get me a case.  

Additional information:  
Recipe source:  Food and Wine
Photos:  kpoulin


Taylor said...

I am so grateful to have you as resident chef de cuisine, as I'd probably be eating peanut butter sandwiches 5 out of 7 nights if I lived on my own... haha!

Kim said...

and I my dear am grateful for having you as my guinea pig to try all the crazy recipes I find. Also, I get to share wine with you and not drink alone. always good!