Monday, July 19, 2010

Meatless Monday "Mac N Goat Cheese" With Cherry Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, And Walnuts

Happy Meatless Monday!

I'm back with more great meatless recipe ideas.  This is my healthy take on the quintessential Mac N  Cheese.  Instead of elbow pasta made from wheat, I use a gluten-free brown rice rotini (the ridges are great for catching cheese).  I also use fresh goat cheese (chevre) to make a creamy sauce and load the pasta up with fresh vegetables including spring onions, cherry tomatoes and peppers.  I finish it with toasted walnuts (healthy fats and protein) and fresh basil.  I promise that even the pickiest eater will fall in love with this dish!

"Mac N Goat Cheese" With Cherry Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, And Walnuts
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 4-6 people

1 pound brown rice rotini (or other whole grain pasta)
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup green onions, white and tender green parts chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup fresh goat cheese (chevre)
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
salt and pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan.  Add the onions and cook until beginning to soften.  Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.  Then, add the cheery tomatoes and the bell pepper.  Saute until all the vegetables are cooked.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook per package instructions until al dente (about 8 minutes).  Drain the pasta, reserving at least one cup of the cooking liquid.  Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixture.  Add the goat cheese and 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.  Toss until the goat cheese melts and forms a creamy sauce, adding more cooking liquid as needed.  Check seasoning (salt and pepper).

To serve, put the pasta in a bowl and top with the walnuts and the basil.  Drizzle with a little good olive oil and sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper.  Enjoy!

Source For Ingredients
organic brown rice pasta, organic heirloom cherry tomatoes, organic bell pepper, green onions, organic garlic, walnuts and goat cheese from Trader Joe's

organic basil from my garden

Wine Pairing
With this meal, we drank a wonderful Roar 2005 Pinot Noir, Pisoni Vineyard.  Roar makes great pinot noir with grapes from some of the best vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands (California Central Coast), and the Pisoni may be their best - spicy and fruity with great structure.  Also, the 2005's are drinking fabulously right now.  We devoured this bottle.

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