I am quite certain that goat cheese is to vegetarians what bacon is to meat-eaters–it makes everything taste better. A couple months ago, I finally found a ratatouille recipe to love (courtesy of my kitchen crush Mark Bittman) and froze small containers of it for rainy days. But there’s something a little boring and sad about just having plain old ratatouille from the freezer, so I added in a log of goat cheese, mixed in some cooked orzo pasta, and the result was something tart and creamy, and I was excited to have as my leftovers lunch today. And even better, it was a simple dinner done in about 15 minutes (although making the ratatouille takes much longer, obviously, but that’s a weekend afternoon project).
I’d love some suggestions on what else to do with ratatouille, and here is mine.
For four servings, boil some water and add in 2/3 cup of orzo. Meanwhile, reheat 2 cups of ratatouille. Once it’s warm, add in a 5 oz. log of goat cheese and stir so it blends in thoroughly. Once the orzo is ready, drain and add in. Note that 5 oz. of cheese is quite generous, but that’s the way I like it. You could dial it down a bit.
And a couple more things:
Bittman’s recipe give you options when it comes to herbs. My vote is on just rosemary, which goes well with all the flavors and is till there after some time in the freezer.
I use Pomi tomatoes in cartons for this, which are great now that tomatoes are hibernating for the winter.
If you do plan to eat right away, rather than freeze, the flavors get better if you let it sit for a day or two.
This is a vegan recipe and so the protein comes from chickpeas. I tried canned and dried for this recipe, and you can definitely taste the difference, so try dried ones if you can. I used these instructions and was happy to learn cooking chickpeas is much less involved than making dried beans edible.
Above: a DIY goat cheese kit from Belle Chevre, available here.