Tag Archives: goat cheese

Pasta with Tomatoes, Spinach, Goat Cheese and Black Olives (feeds a crowd!)

22 Mar

The planting season is picking up at Restoration Farm, the C.S.A. that we belong to at the historic Old Bethpage Restoration Village here on Long Island. I say that as if I were right in there, pruning the apple trees and preparing the beds and raising those heritage birds, getting dirty and sweaty in honest, sacred labor on the land.

Uh, well, not exactly.

Farming has always been more theoretical than hands-on in my life. Sure I have come out to volunteer at the farms we have belonged to, but in all honesty, since I’ve had Leandro, it’s been more about picking a couple of pea pods, then taking him to see the pigs or the chickens  or to the bathroom, rush, rush, than it has been about actually doing anything useful in an agricultural sense.

This year will be different, in two ways:

1) We have a little more sun in our yard these days, thanks to some trees that had to come down. Last year we did some experimental container gardening to gauge where we could actually grow vegetables. Now that we’ve established that, we will be putting in some raised beds this year and trying to grow more stuff for ourselves.

2) Leandro is more self-sufficient and mature and I have hopes that our volunteering days at the farm will be less like outings to the zoo and more like real contributions.Call me crazy, but a girl’s gotta dream…..

In the meantime, we attended the season-opening potluck at the farm last Sunday and — while I listened with longing, yearning, and almost dismay as the real farm folks told me with great enthusiasm about everything they’ve been doing in the last few weeks — I tried to keep positive about what is to come for me in the world of growing things! (and we have started peas, tomatoes, peppers and culantro from seed this week).

This was my contribution to the potluck…it seemed to go well for everyone (except my own traitorous offspring who decided he didn’t like the look of it and proceeded to stuff his face with the stuffed shells and the two different baked macaroni and cheese, and the Hardscrabble chicken — anything but my dish, the one I had made thinking he’d love it; thanks for the support, little dude) and I had enough to bring in for my esteemed colleagues. At least one has decided that she doesn’t have to cook this week thanks to this abundant, rich, very easy and super-tasty, creamy dish.

You’ll be able to use this recipe next time you have to feed a bunch of people with stuff you already have on hand!

Pasta with Spinach, Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Black Olives

1.5 lbs penne or other short pasta

6 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, sliced thin

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicy)

28 oz canned of diced tomatoes (or two Cups fresh)

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

10 oz – 16 oz frozen spinach

20-30 pitted black olives, sliced

½ Cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano or pecorino

6 oz fresh goat cheese (chévre)

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water, drain and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook at medium low until softened and golden, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste (if using fresh tomatoes, cook until they begin to soften) and then add spinach, cooking at medium low until the spinach is heated through and incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add olives.

Add the pasta and the grated cheese (and tablespoons of the reserved pasta water if the sauce is too thick) and stir until the pasta is fully coated. Add the goat cheese, mix well (but gently) and serve, with additional grated cheese if desired.

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Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

17 Aug

Beets keep for three weeks or so in the fridge (You should always cut the beet greens to an inch before storing and use the beet greens right away), so if you have any in the cool box waiting for inspiration, this is a simple dish that results in big flavor and gorgeous visuals.

I think you will especially like the vinaigrette (and you can reserve some to use on salads later in the week; it really perks up a simple, seasonal fresh from the garden tomato and cucumber salad like the one I had today with a bit of feta).

This became an instant top ten for my mom; we are all big salad eaters around here (except for my son, but nevermind; we’re working on it) but even those most dedicated herbivore needs a wake up for the taste buds. Beets and goat cheese have become a classic flavor combination with good reason, so don’t wait ’till you see it on a menu. DIY!

Thanks to Adriana for inspiring this recipe in a comment on an earlier beet recipe (beets and greens with orange). https://hotcheapeasy.wordpress.com/2011/07/16/roasted-beet-salad-with-orange-and-beet-greens/.

Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese

Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

5-6 medium beets, tops trimmed to one inch, roots intact, washed and dried

3-4 Cups baby salad greens (spinach goes very well with this, as does arugula), washed and dried (if using large leaves, tear into bite-size pieces)

2 oz crumbly goat cheese

¼ of a red onion, thinly sliced (optional)

Handful of walnuts/cranberries (optional)

Vinaigrette

¼ Cup sherry or other mild vinegar (scant; reduce if using full-strength white or wine vinegar)

1 generous tsp prepared mustard (Dijon preferred)

¼ tsp agave nectar (or honey)

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap beets loosely in foil and roast about 40 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from foil and cool. When you can handle them easily, peel with your hands. You may want to use gloves or put your hands in a plastic bag to peel, as the beets stain fingers pink. Cut into small bite-size chunks.

Lay a bed of salad greens on a plate, top with beet chunks, and optional red onion, walnuts and cranberries. Dot with goat cheese.

Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle over salad just before serving (You may want to pour dressing after the goat cheese to keep it from getting colored. You may also want to drizzle less rather than more to really enjoy the exciting flavors of the salad ingredients).

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