Saturday, February 27, 2010

0 Recipe #77: Grilled Pasta With Goat Cheese & Roasted Red Pepper

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This is an oldie-but-goodie, an original recipe of mine that stems all the way back to 1997.  Hard to believe that this recipe is now over 12 years old!  It's one of Erik's favorites, although I haven't made it in quite some time. Enjoy!

Grilled Pasta With Goat Cheese & Roasted Red Pepper

1 c. dry, uncooked penne pasta
1/2-1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (for cooking pasta)
2 garlic cloves, peeled & minced
1 c. fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes (i.e., the kind that's packed in olive oil), julienned
1/2 c. roasted red peppers, sliced into 1/2" strips (preferably made fresh versus from a jar)
1/3 c. kalamata olives, pitted & sliced into rough pieces
1/2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 c. goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves
1/4 c. fresh oregano

Directions: To make roasted red peppers from scratch, wash & dry them, & then place them on a pan brushed with olive oil. For easy cleanup, use an aluminium foil pan or line pan with aluminium foil.

Peppers can be made in the oven or on the grill.  (For those with electric ovens, be sure to use the broil setting.) If you're making them in the oven, adjust oven rack so that it is about 5 inches underneath oven flame. Turn up your oven temperature as high as it will go. Lightly brush peppers with olive oil & place in pan. Roast peppers in 500°F preheated oven until the skin blisters & chars all over, about 25-30 minutes. Be sure to check on peppers, turning them frequently to prevent burning. (You want the skins to blacken, & not the "meat" of the pepper!) When peppers are ready, remove them from the oven and, using heat-proof tongs, transfer them to a brown paper bag (which'll make the skins easier to remove), rolling up the open end to seal tightly. Let stand to cool for at least 10-15 minutes on a heat-proof surface. Remove the skins, stems, & seeds, & discard. Slice lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips.  Measure 1/2 c. of peppers & set aside.  (Remaining peppers can be refrigerated for later use in other recipes. They make a great topping for salads, etc.)

While peppers are roasting, boil pasta in salted water with a drop of olive oil for roughly 8 minutes, drain, & set aside. Take chopped produce (tomatoes, olives, & garlic) & put into a bowl. Sauté minced garlic in olive oil until soft, but do not brown.  Then add pasta, tomatoes, & veggies.  Cook for about 10 minutes, or until pasta starts to crisp & brown a bit.  Remove from heat. Add lemon juice & season with salt & pepper. Add goat cheese while pan is still hot & mix thoroughly. Goat cheese should melt slightly, which creates a smoother, creamier texture to the dish. Garnish with oregano & basil leaves, & serve.

Yield: 2 servings.

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