Think back to your childhood.
Boxed macaroni and cheese is a staple of every American family whether you admit to it or not. But do you remember the first time you tasted the fancy version with that pouch of thick, creamy, melty cheese? You went back for seconds and made sure you licked every smear of cheese from the bowl. It was as if a door opened to a new culinary world and you wondered what other goodness was out there to experience, what other delicious secrets your mother had been holding back on.
Well, if you haven't been introduced to the adult version of that memory, please allow me the pleasure.
This roasted red pepper and goat cheese alfredo is divine! My sister shared the recipe with me a while back but, having never roasted a red bell pepper before, I was apprehensive. During my last monthly Whole Foods Market excursion I picked up their giant log of 365 brand goat cheese which is priced much better than any goat cheese I can find locally. And honestly, if I buy the small 4 ounce package I end up tearing off a corner and eating it squeeze-style on the way home from the grocery store. Shamelessly.
This afternoon, with time, ingredients and an appetite at my disposal, I began cooking. First off, roasting peppers is very easy. Peeling the skin off after cooling was more difficult, but I assume if I rotated the peppers in the oven letting them char on each side the skin would be easier to remove. So for the pepper-roasting novices, you can do this.
My minor substitutions: using white pepper in place of black pepper, regular half and half because that's what I had, and plain goat cheese instead of herbed, as well as the fresh basil, because I could easily add herbs (though I forgot to this time because it was smelling and tasting incredible).
This alfredo sauce is one of the absolute best pasta sauces I have ever tasted. Seriously. I went back for seconds, scooping it from the plastic container I had prepared for tomorrow's lunch at work. I wanted to eat it as soup. The linguine noodles were inadequate sauce carriers though, next time I will use spiral or thick, elbow macaroni noodles. I also imagine a thicker version spread on crusty baguette slices.
There is no protein source in this particular recipe version, though it would be easy to add tofu during the blending process to enhance the nutrition. The sauce would also accompany salmon or chicken very well.
My wine pairing was a Sancerre from Pascal et Nicolas Reverdy. I enjoy Sauvignon Blanc but am rarely impressed by one. This Sancerre is probably the best representative for the grape I have tasted to date. And no, my opinion was not skewed by the delicious meal. In fact, I had to remind myself to sip it while eating because the food stole the stage. I regularly look for wines that pair well with goat cheese and have yet to find one spot-on; I seek any recommendations you may have.
In closing, you must try this roasted red pepper and goat cheese alfredo. If you are unsure or unfamiliar with goat cheese this is a perfect opportunity to experiment because blending it with cream and a grated Italian cheese allows you to adjust the taste to your liking without fear of overpowering. If you don't want to cook it yourself, encourage a friend to do so. Or come visit me and I'll make it.
Link, where you can also find variations on the recipe: http://www.closetcooking.com/2012/09/roasted-red-pepper-and-goat-cheese.html