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Feb 16, 2016
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WINE WITH...Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese Discs

This pasta would be satisfying any time of year, but it is particularly welcome in the dead of winter thanks to its colorful roasted tomatoes and spinach. The sumptuous chèvre discs add a creamy texture as well as a deliciously tangy taste.
Most of the prep work can be done well ahead of time. All you have to do at the last minute is cook the pasta and broil the goat cheese discs.

Vegetable Pasta with Goat Cheese Discs

Serves 4

Tiny grape tomatoes are ideal here, but you could substitute cherry tomatoes and cut them in half. Any kind of mushroom or mix of different mushrooms is good in this recipe (we generally use a mix of creminis and shitakes).

16 ounces grape tomatoes
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
½ teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper
3 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cloves garlic cut in thin slices
4 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 8-ounce log soft goat cheese
2 teaspoons bread crumbs such as Panko
12 ounces farfalle (bowtie) pasta
Shredded Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 350˚

Spread the tomatoes on a small baking sheet lined with foil. Toss them with 2 tablespoons of the oil and add the thyme. Season with salt and pepper and roast them, stirring once or twice, for about 8-10 minutes, or until the tomatoes have caved in and are just beginning to lightly brown. Reserve the tomatoes and their cooking oil.

Meanwhile put another 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet and add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have softened, then add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper and continue cooking until the spinach has wilted.

Slice the goat cheese into four discs. Arrange the discs on a foil covered small baking sheet and brush them with olive oil. Sprinkle about ½ teaspoon of bread crumbs over each disc and broil them in a toaster oven or broiler until they have just begun to brown (do not let them melt).

To serve, cook the pasta and toss it with the tomatoes and their cooking oil, and the mushroom mixture and its cooking oil. Divide the mixture among four plates and top each with a goat cheese disc. Sprinkle a little Parmesan over each serving and pass the rest at the table.

* * *

The key to a successful match with this dish is to choose a wine with plenty of acidity so as to hold its own with the tangy goat cheese and piquant tomatoes. No matter if red or white, the best wines with this dish will taste crisp rather than round and bright rather than brooding.

Questions or comments? Contact us at Talkofthevine@gmail.com

Selection

Approx. Price

Comments

Avignonesi, Montepulciano (Italy Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2012

(Imported by Tabaccaia USA)

$29

Sangiovese, always the dominant grape in Vino Nobile, often pairs well with tomatoes, so it was not surprising that this match proved successful. The wine does have a firm backbone of tannins, so will benefit from decanting.

Chamonix, Franschhoek (South Africa) Unoaked Chardonnay 2015

(Imported by Vineyard Brands)

$24

Fresh and lively, this is a classy rendition of Chardonnay—all fruit, with no vanilla or butter notes. Slightly sweet in the finish, it nonetheless tastes extremely refreshing.

Complices de Loire, Touraine (France) Jus de Gamay, 2013

(Imported by Winebow)

$15

An earthy Gamay, with rustic, barnyard notes beneath the fresh cherry fruit flavors, this is a “love it or leave it” wine. If you’re a fan of that sort of rusticity in red wines, you’ll be in the “love it” category.

Kim Crawford, Marlborough (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc 2015

(Imported by Constellation Imports)

$15

Extremely fresh, with bright citrus (grapefruit) aromas and flavors and plenty of tangy acidity, this is a classic-tasting Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Its zesty character is just what this dish wants.

Loveblock, Central Otago (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2012

(Imported by Terlato Wines International)

$37

A very pretty Pinot Noir, with a fresh, lively personality, this wine is genuinely dry. There is nothing candied or saccharine about it, and the bright cherry flavors prove sumptuous.