Recipe: pasta with spring vegetables and goat cheese

As a relative newbie to the world of cheese, I’m still unpacking and learning to harness the versatility of fresh goat cheese.  I had a 10.5 oz log of it sitting in my fridge on Sunday night, and after two days, half of it is gone.  I’ve been spreading it on toast for breakfast–it functions as a superior alternative to cream cheese, tangier and less processed.  In a similar vein, it’s wonderful as a spread for sandwiches in place of mayonnaise (again, superior I think).  And of course, you can’t go wrong with crumbles of goat cheese on your salads.  I also recently learned that it does wonders for a humble pasta dish. Simply add a hunk to a steaming, just-cooked bowl of pasta and keep stirring to break it up, and it essentially morphs into this creamy-ish cream sauce that adheres just right. If you’re not a fan of heavy cream sauces but like the illusion of a cream sauce, this is my gift to you: throw some goat cheese into your pasta. Along with a light squeeze of lemon and lots of pepper, and I think you’ll be pleased with the results.

Recipe after the jump!

Cheese 101 @ Formaggio Kitchen

Cheese 101 is billed as Formaggio’s most popular cheese course, and at $35, it’s a bargain.  They offer it about once a month, and it sells out fast, so you’ll have to plan accordingly.  I reserved a spot for the March class back in January.  They have a generous 24-hr full refund policy, in case you realize you can’t make it as the date closes in.

The coworker with whom I had originally signed up unfortunately had to back out at the last minute.  I went solo and had a great time, but I definitely recommend going with a friend if you can (most people were there in pairs).

Adam Centamore and Vince Razionale, two of Formaggio’s genial cheesemongers, led the class.  I will not dwell on the frustration of my failed zipcar reservation, but it did make me a half hour late.  I got there toward the tail end of the introduction on the history of cheese and the basics of the cheese-making process (the function of rennet, separating curds from whey, adding flavoring, aging).  In a later aside, I was given the 30-second version of the history, and I will give you the one-sentence summary: a very long time ago, cheese was discovered by accident.  I thought the intro provided a broad but scant overview, this impression colored by the fact that I missed some of it.  The more interesting details came out over the course of the night via questions raised and by explication through the particular cheeses that we tasted.

Continue reading Cheese 101 @ Formaggio Kitchen…