goat cheese

One-Pot Pumpkin Pasta

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The pumpkins! They have arrived! They’re cropping up in front of the grocery stores, the pie-baking displays are up, and a certain coffee chain is selling its infamous seasonal spiced beverage.

A little pumpkin seemed just right for the kitchen this weekend, and this pasta recipe did not disappoint.

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One pot, a few pantry basics, some spices, and twenty minutes later, dinner is on the table.

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I accidentally used an entire 13 oz. package of pasta, which made the sauce super-thick. Next time, I will make sure to measure.

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One-Pot Pumpkin Pasta
Adapted slightly from kitchentreaty.com

8 ounces (uncooked) linguine (I used whole grain)
4 cups vegetable broth (I used reduced sodium)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup petite diced yellow onion (about 1/4 of a large onion)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste
4 oz. goat cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped, if desired

In a large, heavy pot, combine all ingredients except goat cheese and parsley. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Cook for 9 minutes, stirring and tossing with tongs. As the mixture begins to thicken, stir constantly, scraping the bottom to prevent sticking (you may wish to switch from tongs to a wooden spatula or spoon). Test the pasta; cook an additional minute if needed.

Remove from heat. Crumble goat cheese into the pasta. Stir gently until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes. Stir and taste; season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Divide between bowls and sprinkle with parsley.

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Mushroom, Shallot and Goat Cheese Quiche

Fall is in the air — or at least, football is — and I’m more willing to turn on my oven.

Around this time of year, I also start wanting something savory and more substantial for breakfast than just yogurt. Good fuel before an early kickoff on Saturdays, and a bit more filling on a weeknight.

Enter the quiche. Versatile, simple, hearty, and portable. All you need is a couple eggs, cream (don’t substitute milk or half-n-half), and whatever vegetables, cheese, meat, and herbs you have hanging around. (Here’s one for spinach and bacon quiche).

Have a great weekend, and happy cooking!

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Mushroom, Shallot and Goat Cheese Quiche

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 pkg (8-10 oz) crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons goat cheese, crumbled (or substitute your favorite cheese)
3 eggs
2/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

In a large pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallots. Season with salt and pepper; saute until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms; season again with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high; sauté until browned and softened, 5-8 minutes. (Be sure the liquid absorbed into the mushrooms,  released, and then evaporated.) Add thyme; sauté for an additional 30 seconds. Pour mushrooms into a bowl to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread mushrooms across a 9-inch pie plate, discarding any liquid. Sprinkle with cheese. Combine cream, eggs, and additional salt and pepper; beat lightly to combine. Pour over pie plate. Carefully transfer plate to oven. Bake for 35 minutes, until center has puffed up uniformly and top is lightly golden-brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let sit at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

Grilled Mahi-Mahi, Goat Cheese Tostada and Black Beans

20130513_182844(2)My first night in Puerto Vallarta, I opted to eat at the hotel’s beachside restaurant. My waiter brought me a strong margarita on the rocks and a basket of bread, which I would have left untouched if were not for the two (okay, three) cheese straws that called out to me after a long day of traveling.

I opted for a lime-grilled Mahi-mahi with goat cheese and black bean sauce, followed by a shot glass-sized dessert involving chocolate and raspberries. Margarita in hand, I watched the sun set over Banderas Bay. Not a bad way to kick off a vacation, eh?

I expected black beans to be prevalent in Mexico, but they were actually a rarity, at least where I was eating. Here, I’ve bulked up this dish a bit by incorporating actual beans, and not just their cooking sauces. Serve with whatever vegetables are in season and look good at the market or from your garden.

This might sound overly complicated for a weeknight, but it’s really not. Make the tostadas over the weekend and store them in resealable zip-top bag. Reheat leftover simmered black beans from scratch, or used canned beans. Fresh salsa from the store and seasonal vegetables of your choice finish the dish nicely. All that remains is the fish itself, which cooks in under 10 minutes.

Grilled Mahi-Mahi, Goat Cheese Tostada and Black Beans

Inspired by Las Casitas Restaurant, Casa Magna Marriott, Puerto Vallarta

Serves 4

4 corn tortillas
Olive oil
1 1/2 cups simmered black beans with cooking liquid*
2 oz. goat cheese
4 boneless, skinless Mahi-mahi fillets (about 6 oz. each)
Salt & pepper
1 lime
Fresh salsa, for serving

Make the tostadas: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the tortillas with a bit of olive oil and lay on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Make ahead: can be made a day or two ahead of time and stored in an airtight container.

Prepare the beans: Heat beans in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add additional cooking liquid if necessary. Taste; season as needed. *Note: If using canned beans: rinse and drain; place in a small pan and add about 2/3 cup water. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and cilantro. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer. Taste; season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Keep warm.

Prepare the fish: If using an outdoor grill, prepare for direct, high-heat grilling. If indoors, heat a grill pan on medium-high heat; brush with olive oil. Pat the fish dry. Season generously with salt, pepper, and zest of the lime. Grill fish until opaque, about 3-4 minutes per side, turning once. Squeeze with lime juice.

To assemble: On each plate, break the tostada in half and place on the plate. Crumble the goat cheese on top. Ladle 1/3-1/2 cup bean mixture onto the tostada, including 2-3 tablespoons of cooking liquid. Place the grilled fish on the tostada. Top with fresh salsa. Serve immediately.