Sweet Summer’s Bounty
The end of summer is here and my kitchen is overflowing with all kinds of tomatoes from red, yellow and orange ones to green ones that didn’t quite ripen on the vine. Every year I think up creative new ways to cook up our tomato harvest, but this has to be my tastiest invention yet! As much as I shop produce in season (i.e. buy what’s on sale), I like to satisfy my cravings when they hit regardless of what time of year it is. So if you don’t have a few dozen extra tomatoes hanging around your kitchen, don’t fret because we can enjoy this amazing pasta dish year round.
The Ultimate Tomato Pasta
Given the choice, I don’t typically opt for tomato-based pasta sauces. I’m much more of a pesto girl as you could probably tell from the selection of pesto varieties in the recipe collection. But I like to try new things and welcome the challenge of making something that’s already good absolutely exceptional. So I took the basic tomato and cream based vodka sauce and replaced the fatty heavy cream with tangy goat cheese for this incredibly rich and flavorful Goat Cheese Ravioli alla Vodka. Oh my!
Make it Your Way
Not only does this dish taste amazing, but it’s quick and easy to make and pretty versatile as well. My husband is a bacon freak so I keep the costco-sized package of all-natural cooked and crumbled bacon for a quick pop of smoky flavor. And I added some toasted pistachios for texture, crunch and additional protein, but to be perfectly honest this recipe doesn’t need any extra features because it’s already fabulous at its simplest. But if you do wish to add some additional protein, you could always opt for a meat stuffed pasta or toss some ground leftover rotisserie chicken over the top. And for the pasta minimalist, forget the ravioli and just toss this sauce with your favorite penne or linguine.
Vodka Over Wine
It’s no secret that I love wine so you may be wondering why I chose to use vodka in this sauce instead of a nice, crisp white wine. Vodka works very much like wine does in cooking, adding richness and balance to the dish, but neutral vodka doesn’t add any additional flavors allowing the tomatoes, garlic and goat cheese to truly shine. The end result is a rich dish that is clean, robust and absolutely lick-your-plate-clean irresistible!
Suggested Wine Pairings
This rich and robust pasta dish begs for a crisp wine that can cut through the creamy, tangy goat cheese and refresh the palate. If you prefer red wines, look for one with soft tannins and bright acidity like an Italian Chianti or California Sangiovese. For a special occasion try my favorite expression of Sangiovese in one of Italy’s Brunello di Montalcino. Talk about a match made in heaven! If you are a white wine lover, look for a refreshingly crisp Italian Soave, Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon Blanc. Any of these acidic wines could stand up to the acidity in the tomato sauce and cut through the richness of the dish. For an interesting and sparkly twist, try a Prosecco or and Italian Franciacorta, which is made in the same style as Champagne and pairs excellently with rich foods.