One of my favorite Easy Weeknight Meals is Marcella Hazan‘s Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese Sauce for Pasta from her wonderful book Marcella Cucina. In fact, I’ve made this dish so many times that my hard cover book has cracked in that very spot.
I’ve tried many variations over the 18 years that I’ve owned this cookbook, and think that I’ve finally hit on a unique twist that transforms this well-loved recipe from standard weekday fare, to guest worthy sustenance for an (easy) weekend meal.
The transformative element? The change in goat cheese from a mild creamy chèvre to a goat cheese that packs a bit of a punch. This time I made it with Fishing Creek Creamery’s Spiderbite Chèvre Frais. We’ve been loving Spiderbite for the past two years – In fact they used to make a ramped up ultra spicy Spiderbite, but I haven’t seen that lately at their stand in the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market.
But this was the first time I’ve cooked with it. . .
Fishing Creek Creamery is a local dairy in Chester, South Carolina that is fastidious about its cheese. The only ingredients in the Spiderbite Chèvre Frais are pasteurized goat milk, honey, ghost pepper salt (salt, chocolate extract, ghost peppers), microbial rennet, and cultures.
I decided to make a number of other changes from Marcella’s original recipe. I first sautéd a large Vidalia onion which adds a sweetness to the dish. I cooked my peeled peppers down with white wine and added 1/2 cup of cream towards the end. And in addition to the chives Marcella recommends, I also add thin slivers of basil for more color and a shift in flavor.
My carnivores enjoyed it over De Cecco Cavatappi – but you could use any type of pasta that strikes your fancy.
Although I’m deviating from my plant protein focus with this recipe, it’s sooooo good that I don’t want to keep it to myself. Plus, I’d like you to know more about Fishing Creek Creamery’s great goat cheese. Check out their website and track them down – I think you’ll love their goat cheese!
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large Vidalian onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 red bell peppers and 1 yellow bell pepper (or feel free to substitute an orange bell pepper for one of the red peppers)
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
- 12/ cup white wine
- 4 ounces Spiderbite Chevre Frais
- ½ cup organic cream
- 1 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 lb. De Cecco Cavatappi
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Slivers of fresh basil
- Chopped chives
- Freshly grated Parmegiano-Reggiano
- Heat a large skillet, add the unsalted butter, and then the sliced onions. Sauté 5-6 minutes until transcluent. When the onions are almost done, add the garlic, and saute a minute more.
- While the onions are cooking, wash, split and seed the bell peppers. Then take a vegetable peeler and peel the skin off the peppers. (This may sound odd, but you peel the blistered skin after roasting them, don't you?) . Slice the peppers into thin strips. You should end up with 3-4 cups, depending on the original size of your peppers.
- Add the peppers to the onions and garlic, and saute over low heat for about 15-20 minutes. If needed, add another tablespoon of unsalted butter.
- Lower the heat. Add the white wine, and cook down until the peppers are meltingly tender.
- Add the Spiderbite, gently mashing it in, and then stirring to incorporate.
- Cook the cavatappi in a large pot of rapidly boiling water to which you've added salt right before putting in the pasta. The package says cooking for 6 minutes will get you al dente pasta, and 8 will be the maximum. I thought 8 minutes gave me an al dente bite, and if you like it more cooked, I'd add another minute or two. Reserve ½ cup pasta water.
- About two minutes before the pasta is done, add the cream to the pepper and goat cheese mixture, and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
- Drain the pasta and toss in the remaining tablespoon of unsalted butter, and then add the Spiderbite pepper sauce. Thin with the reserved pasta water if needed. Toss with the chives and basil, and add a bit more freshly ground black pepper.
- Serve with freshly grated Parmegiano-Reggiano.