My sister and I share a love of all things carbs, with a special place in our hearts for mac and cheese of any variety. Awhile back, I found a cookbook solely devoted to mac and cheese and gave it to her for her birthday or Christmas or something. (Which is not as good as a present she once gave me – it was an orange t-shirt with two cartoon cows dancing on it, with the words “I LOVE CARBS!”)
The recipe we’re sharing today originated with that mac & cheese cookbook. I made my sister send me screenshots from several options in the cookbook and settled on this one. We were very happy with our selection. Despite retaining the cheesiness of a standard mac & cheese, this feels slightly lighter. I mean, it’s certainly not low calorie, but the tanginess of the goat cheese just gives you a different sensation. I love goat cheese in any form, so definitely enjoyed this! I went light on the panko crust which worked for us. My only complaint at the end was that the finished product looked a little monotone in my pictures – so not really an actual problem!
We had this dish this weekend when our favorite Georgians came to visit us in Virginia! We had a great weekend, with some delicious food, a few roaring fires, some trap shooting, some wandering in the woods, and a fun day of Virginia wine/beer/cider tasting with stops at King Family Vineyards, Blue Mountain Brewery, Bold Rock Cider, and Devil’s Backbone Brewing! And, of course, we enjoyed visiting with our friends! They all approved of this recipe, so hopefully you will too!
Tonight we decided to take a brief detour from our now tried and true basic pasta recipe. And by brief detour, I mean that we did the exact same thing that we always do, with the addition of some ground turmeric for a new flavor and color. Not the most bold and daring detour if we’re being honest. And since we’re being honest… this was actually an improvised backup plan when our first plan failed. What was the original dish we were going to make you ask? It’s a secret. We’re going to try it again one of these days. But long story short, I already had the mental plan for this sauce to pair with the original noodles. And I really had in my head that the dish was going to be “earthy.” So this backup plan had to be earthy too! We both stared at our spice cabinet, and Selim zeroed in on the turmeric. It’s earthy, I think it will pair well with the planned sauce, and added bonus, it makes the noodles a beautiful yellow color!
Side note… as we’ve mentioned before, we really started this blog as more of a journal or a personal recipe file. We just felt like we were frequently forgetting amazing dishes that we’d created once and then could never replicate. But along the way, we’ve embraced the fact that this is a blog and not just our personal notes. Since it’s available on the internet, we don’t want it to just read like a stream of consciousness diary, but something actually useful for others. One thing I did not anticipate was the difficulty I’d have in naming our recipes. Seems easy right? Apparently I’m not really all that creative, which is why you’ll see that most of our recipes just have simple, descriptive titles (I’m talking about you Wine & Honey Brisket or you Ham & Potato Soup). Any of the slightly more creative names come from Selim (see: Sultan Selim Kofte or Pinch of Crab Egg Dip). I came up with this recipe’s title thinking about the golden color of the turmeric noodles and the goat cheese base of the sauce. I was all proud of myself that I came up with (what I think is) an original, cute, alliterative name… and then I googled the phrase. Apparently Golden Goat is a variety of marijuana… known for its earthy flavor. And… we’re keeping the name! Maybe we’ll get a few new pot-smoking, Golden Goat-loving followers… Welcome!
Golden Goat Pasta
1 & 1/3 cup AP flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp truffle oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
8oz goat cheese
¼ cup dry white wine
Fresh ground black pepper
Pasta water, as needed
Prepare pasta as in our How To, with the addition of the 1 tbsp of turmeric.
For the sauce, start by warming the truffle oil in a pan over low-medium heat.
Once the oil is nice and toasty, add the garlic cloves and a few turns of black pepper. Keep the heat low and cook just a few minutes until fragrant, but not browned.
Lower heat even further and add goat cheese and wine. Allow the cheese to melt slowly. Stir frequently until the ingredients are well combined.
Meanwhile, roll out pasta and cut into your desired shape and thickness of noodles.
Cook the pasta in boiling water for just 2 or 3 minutes.
Add pasta water by the tablespoon to thin out the sauce until it reaches your desired thickness – we used 3 tablespoons for ours.
Happy middle of March! Who cares about mid-March you say?? I do! Mid-March means the NCAA basketball tournament. I love the Madness! The brackets, the buzzer-beaters, the underdogs, the team spirit, the heart and soul… I love it all!
This weekend has been a little bit of a roller-coaster for me though. I’ve enjoyed my time glued to the couch, flipping between games. But then my hometown VCU Rams fizzled out in the first round. My Virginia Cavaliers and South Carolina Gamecocks each had strong second halves to win their respective first round games. We went to Greenville, SC to hang out with my brothers and immerse ourselves in the tournament festivities downtown, which was really fun! But then… UVA lost in the second round in pretty much the most soul-crushing fashion imaginable. So that was definitely a down moment. And by down I mean, I may or may not have shed a tear or two.
I pretended it didn’t happen today and watched the games all afternoon. This pasta dish may not be your most traditional game-day food, but we enjoyed it none the less.
Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Sauce
2 large red bell peppers
2 tsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp milk
4 cloves garlic
6oz herbed goat cheese
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/4 tsp salt
5 turns of fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Rub 1 tsp of olive oil over the peppers and place them on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Roast peppers for 30 minutes. They will begin to blister.
Allow the peppers to cool slightly. Remove the seeds and stems.
Place the peppers and the milk into a food processor. Give it a few spins until you have a nice puree.
Meanwhile, heat the other 1 tsp of olive oil over medium heat.
Mince the garlic and brown in the olive oil for ~3-4 minutes.
Turn heat down to low and add the red pepper puree, goat cheese, and all of the remaining spices to the pan.
Cook over low heat for ~15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until ingredients are well-combined and heated through.
As the sauce is coming together, prepare your pasta.
Serve sauce overtop of pasta and enjoy!
Makes 2 large servings or 4 smaller side dish servings.
Spaghetti squash is one of those things that if you look on Pinterest, it seems that everyone is making. I had never made spaghetti squash before tonight! I’ve been wanting to, because I wanted to be cool like the other Pinterest-ers basically. When I mentioned this to Selim, he said, “I mean don’t people just pour sauce on top like it’s regular spaghetti?” So, I knew what I wasn’t making with the spaghetti squash.
What I did make was a veggie-heavy dish, that is a bit rich from the goat cheese. The spinach, dill, and goat cheese shine together, and who doesn’t love the combination of garlic, onions, and bacon in anything??
Goat Cheese Smothered Spaghetti Squash
1 large spaghetti squash
2 strips of bacon
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, coarsely diced
6oz log of goat cheese (divided)
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp dill
1/2 tsp salt
8oz of fresh spinach
Fresh ground black pepper
With a large, sharp knife, slice the spaghetti squash in half. Remove the seeds and other refuse.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash halves face-down on a cookie sheet. Add a couple spoonfuls of water to the pan. Roast for 45 minutes.
With 5-10 minutes left in the squash roasting time, cut your bacon into small lardons. Cook over medium heat in a large pan with tall sides for 5 minutes.
Once bacon has released some of its fat, add the onions and garlic to the pan. Grind 3 turns of black pepper on top. Stir briefly to coat with bacon fat. Cover the pan and sweat for 8 minutes, stirring once.
In a small bowl or ramekin, stir together the water and 1 oz of goat cheese. It does not have to be smooth or fully combined.
Add the water/goat cheese, dill and salt to the pan. Stir a few times so all ingredients are combined.
Lower heat just a bit (I went from 5 to 4 on my stove). Add the spinach and cover. Keep lid on for 3-4 minutes. The spinach will wilt and shrink in size greatly. (If you can’t fit all of your spinach in the pan, you can add it in two batches.)
Using a fork, scrape spaghetti squash into the pan.
Add the rest of the goat cheese to the pan, in divided chunks.
Stir, stir, stir. Stir for several minutes, ensuring the cheese melts and the squash “noodles” separate and become thoroughly coated.