Baked Goat Cheese Marinara

Baked Goat Cheese Marinara Recipe

I love cheese. Always have. And with my recent move to the state of Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland, exploring new cheese was inevitable. My favorite grocery store here, Metcalfe’s, is a local establishment that has been around since 1917. As soon as you walk in, you are led to the amazing cheese, artisan crackers and cured sausage and meats section. They always have samples and you can bet there will be a fabulous cheese sample of something you have never tried before. It was here at Metcalfe’s that I tried a 10-year aged cheddar cheese and a fabulous goat milk cheddar cheese. Needless to say, both were amazingly delicious.

This more to make challenge was a double one for me. First off, I got to familiarize myself with so many different kinds of goat cheese, hard and soft. And secondly, I got to perfect my homemade marinara sauce recipe.

goat cheese

The fresh goat cheese enhances this baked marinara fantastically. Because the flavor is so distinct, it pairs really well with the slight tanginess and, in this case, spiciness from the homemade marinara sauce. I like my marinara slightly chunky, which is why I used both diced tomatoes and crushed tomato sauce, with lots of flavor and some heat.

homemade marinara _ HipFoodieMom.com

And, for fun and additional flavor, I added sliced eggplant and zucchini inside so you are sure to get some veggie goodness with every bite. I used a mandolin slicer for this to ensure thin slices, and having the vegetables thin helps them cook faster.

thinly sliced veggies

To assemble the baked goat cheese marinara: pour in half of the homemade marinara sauce into the baking dish. Spread evenly to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Layer on the thinly sliced eggplant and zucchini, alternating if desired. Pour in the remaining marinara sauce to cover the vegetables. At this point, you can mix the veggies in the sauce so some vegetables are poking out. I think this makes the baked marinara look more interesting.

layering veggies

layering _ HipFoodieMom.com

pre_bake

marinara mix_close up

Bake the marinara sauce for about 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from the oven during the last 5 minutes of cooking and cover the top with three slices of goat cheese. (*Kitchen Tip: Use dental floss to cleanly cut your soft goat cheese.) Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for another 2-3 minutes to soften the cheese.

goat cheese_floss_cut
Goat Cheese on top_preoven

Change the oven setting to the broil setting and broil at 500 degrees for about 3-4 minutes or until the edges and top of the cheese become browned. Watch to ensure the goat cheese does not burn.

Float the Goat_closeup

Serve this Baked Goat Cheese Marinara with crostini and you will have the most delicious appetizer. In order to ensure the right crispiness, I always toast my crostini in my KitchenAid® Countertop Oven. It does all of the work for me. I just pop them in, turn the dial to toast my bread and within a minute or two they are ready. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

crostini_CounterTopOven

So, what are you waiting for? Pick up some goat cheese and Float the Goat!

Instructions:

Baked Goat Cheese with Homemade Marinara Recipe, Served with Crostini

Fills a 2-quart baking dish

INGREDIENTS

For the homemade marinara

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2-3 fresh sprigs oregano
1-2 fresh sprigs of thyme
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomato sauce
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

 

For the baked goat cheese dish

3-4 cups of homemade marinara sauce (above)
1/2 small eggplant; thinly sliced
1 small zucchini; thinly sliced
3 1/2 ounces soft goat cheese; sliced

 

For the crostini

French Bread Baguette
Butter
Roasted garlic (optional)

 

Special equipment suggested

Mandolin slicer
2-quart baking dish
Dental floss

DIRECTIONS

For the homemade marinara

Heat the olive oil in a medium to large sized saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic, oregano and thyme sprigs and allow everything to cook in the olive oil for about 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the crushed tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and mix well. Bring to a slight boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

Season with the red chili pepper flakes and salt and pepper. Mix well and let cook for an additional 2-3 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside. Remove the oregano and thyme sprigs and discard the sprigs.

For the baked goat cheese dish

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Using a mandolin slicer, slice the eggplant and zucchini and set aside.

To assemble the baked goat cheese marinara: pour in half of the marinara sauce into the baking dish. Spread evenly to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Layer on the thinly sliced eggplant and zucchini, alternating if desired. Pour in the remaining marinara sauce to cover the vegetables. At this point, you can mix the veggies in the sauce so some vegetables are poking out. I think this makes the baked marinara look more interesting.

Bake the marinara sauce for about 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Remove from the oven during the last 5 minutes of cooking and cover the top with three slices of goat cheese. (*Kitchen Tip: Use dental floss to cleanly cut your soft goat cheese.) Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for another 2-3 minutes to soften the cheese.

Change the oven setting to broil and broil for about 3-4 minutes or until the edges and top of the goat cheese become browned. Watch to ensure the goat cheese does not burn.

For the crostini

Toast the bread: Cut your baguette and lightly butter each slice on one side. Place into the KitchenAid® Countertop Oven to toast. Set the toast dial to your desired level: light or medium. Alternatively, you can bake your slices of bread.

For added flavor, lightly brush on some roasted garlic onto the crostini once out of the countertop oven.

Serve with the baked goat cheese marinara and enjoy immediately.

Float the Goat_final_vertical

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*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*

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  • kimchi_mom

    This looks perfect for a party! I love the addition of the zucchini and eggplant.

    by the way, is it okay to use minty dental floss? 😉 (kidding…)

  • Liz

    I definitely want to float the goat! What a terrific appetizer!

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