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Toasted Penne with Herbs, Goat Cheese,
and Golden Bread Crumbs



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Toasted Penne with Herbs, Goat Cheese,
and Golden Bread Crumbs

Food & Wine’s Best of the Best,Vol. 4
Food & Wine Books, Editor in Chief Judith Hill, 2001, American Express Publishing Corp.
from Tom Douglas's Seattle Kitchen
By Tom Douglas, Duskie Estes, Denis Kelly, Shelley Lance, 2000, William Morrow & Co.

Makes 6 servings

“I got the idea for toasting dry pasta in a hot oven, before boiling, on a trip to Italy years ago. This technique is quite easy and gives the pasta a slightly different color and texture than untoasted pasta.”

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 pound penne
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5 ounces soft, fresh goat cheese

1.  To make the toasted bread crumbs, heat a medium-size sauté pan over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and stir until the crumbs begin to brown and get crunchy. Season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool. Once the bread crumbs are cool, combine with the parsley and lemon zest. Set aside.

2.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and preheat the oven to 400° F. Place the penne on a baking sheet and bake until the pasta just begins to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Watch carefully, because it goes from yellow to brown very fast. Allow the pasta to cool off for a few minutes, then dump it into the pot of boiling water and cook until it is just al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain.

3.  Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the butter in a large wide-bottomed saucepan or a deep straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat and cook the shallots, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and the pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the heavy cream and simmer until it reduces by a third, about 5 minutes. Add the herbs, penne and Parmesan and remove the pan from the heat. Crumble the goat cheese into the pasta  ad toss, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

on the plate:  Divide the penne and sauce among 6 shallow bowls and sprinkle with the toasted bread crumbs.

in the glass:  Try a Sangiovese from Umbria, a richer style than Tuscany, or a Sangiovese from Washington State.

Food & Wine test-kitchen tips:  If you have trouble finding all four fresh herbs, you can make some substitutions. The parsley absolutely must be fresh, but for any of the other herbs, the dried form can stand in. Use about a quarter of the quantity specified and add it before you simmer the cream, rather than after, so it has time to reconstitute and to infuse the cream with its flavor.


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