Saturday, January 3, 2009

Baked Macaroni and Goat Cheese with and Roasted Peppers

I got two new cookbooks for Christmas, and I am very excited about this one, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. I'm not a vegetarian, but I like to cook vegetarian meals sometimes and this book sounded too good to pass up.
The first recipe I made from this was the Hot Curry powder, but I haven't used it yet. I hope to tomorrow in a butternut squash recipe.
I made Baked Macaroni and Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers, which is a variation on the standard Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe. That is one of the things I like, they give you a lot of basic recipes, but then give you a lot of ways to make it more exciting or different.
I used my Chevre from a recent excursion to Trader Joe's. It is delicious, and much cheaper than any goat cheese I can buy around here. Trader Joe's, please come to Lancaster. PLEASE?
Here is my paraphrased recipe. The ingredients are the same (I used different pasta and added a little salt)
2 1/2 cups milk
1 lb elbow macaroni (I used Trader Joe's Vegetable Radiatore)
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
(1 tsp salt)
1 cup goat cheese
2 red bell peppers
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (I used basil I threw into a plastic baggie this summer and tossed in the freezer! It was good.)
1/2 cup bread crumbs

First, you need to roast your peppers. I think the best way is to stick them in a toaster oven on broil for about 20-25 minutes. Turn the temperature all the way up (450 for me) and turn the peppers once. (While the peppers are roasting, I would start the pasta water, butter a 9x13 dish, and get your cheese ready.)

Here is the pepper, roasted and ready to be skinned and chopped.
Then take the peppers, and either wrap them in foil or stick then in a plastic baggie. Then, here is a new tip from the book. To remove the skin and seeds, take them out under running water. This helps!! Chop the peppers.
Put your pine nuts in the toaster oven to toast now. Just be careful not to let them go too long. About 8 minutes on 300 works for me.
When the pasta water is ready, cook the pasta-not too long! Drain the pasta earlier than you normally would, since it will soften more in the oven.
Pre-heat your oven to 400.
In a small pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. When the butter is foamy, add the flour and whisk. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, until it is light brown. Then add the milk, a little at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth. Add the grated cheddar and stir until melted. Add the salt and pepper.

Throw this sauce over the pasta, then the red peppers, basil, pine nuts and goat cheese.

Mix it all up, then pour into your baking dish.
Throw on the bread crumbs. I also added a few little dots of goat cheese on top.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until browned.

Eat. Then eat some more.

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