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Vagueness of recipe including goat cheese

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Yesterday pulled a recipe from NYT website cause I have beets and beet greens from my garden and wanted to make a pasta. Presto -- found Martha Rose Shulman's Pappardelle with Beets, Beet Greens and Goat Cheese. Was disappointed that she was vague about "4 ounces of goat cheese". To me, there are many goat cheeses so would have liked a suggestion/direction. Any opinions? Going to a store where they make fabulous fresh ricotta. Could I substitute?

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  1. I assume that American recipes referring to goat cheese refer to logs of fresh chèvre, which seems commonly available in most large supermarkets.

    1. When I read a recipe that includes "goat cheese" I assume that it means a young, non-aged fresh chevre. That's what I would choose for a beet salad. You could substitute fresh ricotta but it offers, generally, less tang. I view ricotta more as a starting mechanism or an additive that gets infused with other flavors to make it interesting. A good sheep milk ricotta can be terrific but a little bland until jazzed up a bit. It makes a great dipping sauce for grissini with a little roasted garlic and truffle oil and whipped a bit.

      1. Thanks to both of you for your thoughts. It's a pasta so thought I might want to take advantage of what many neighborhood food bloggers say is the best fresh ricotta in Brooklyn. Stick to goat cheese and see what happens.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hdoran

          Welcome to Chowhound! Any recipe calling for "goat cheese" is almost certainly looking for fresh chevre, which has the texture of cream cheese. Ricotta will be delicious, if a bit more mildly flavored, but you have to consider that ricotta doesn't behave the same way as chevre. It won't melt/dissolve into the pasta. Think lasagna or baked ziti. You'll have those small curds flecked throughout the dish. Nothing wrong with that, more an appearance issue, but my assumption is the original recipe is using the melted chevre to sauce the pasta in a creamier way.

          1. re: sbp

            +1. If you didn't like the taste of chevre, I could see this as a substitution, but ricotta doesn't melt to smooth like chevre does. That being said, I LOVE a dollop of ricotta on top of a nice rustic pasta, so that might be a good use of your fresh stuff. Don't forget to salt it!

        2. I would be using whatever goats cheese that I generally buy for eating.

          That way, I ensure that I have one that suits my personal taste. I like one that's mature but still softish - say around six month's maturing. For my taste, one's that havnt had much maturing can be very bland with no hint of goatiness and I try to avoid them.