I’d bought a tub of Alouette spreadable cheese a while ago without so much as a vague notion of how it might actually fit into the edible landscape of our lives, but the facts that it was on sale and that we’d never had it were enough to compel me to click “add to cart”. Once it was inside our refrigerator, however, the clock began to tick. I’d recently pulled in the final late-season cherry tomato harvest and, because we’d been fortunate enough to have an abundant supply constantly ripening in the garden for several months, we were no longer consuming them with as much intent. To salvage that final batch after it had sat untouched on the countertop for several days, I roasted them in olive oil and salt and pepper until they blistered and split, then stored them in the refrigerator until I could figure out how to work them into a meal. Well, like two orphaned ingredients in the refrigerator’s foster system that bond through the process, the containers containing the roasted tomatoes and the Alouette cheese just happened to find themselves stacked one on top of the other in that cold world one afternoon. It felt like the universe had brought them together for a reason, so I decided that a joint adoption was in order.
I boiled some pasta, drained out all but some of the water, added the tub of Alouette while it was still hot, and stirred it until the cheese had melted into the pasta water, forming a creamy sauce. Enter in the tomatoes and some generous grinds of salt and pepper, and I’m happy to report that the combination was a success. And though they’re no longer with us, the two ingredients were welcomed warmly at the dinner table, and their leftover days were happy ones for the family who took them in.
(serves 4-6 depending on accompaniments)
1/2 lb. gemelli (or another pasta shape with similar surface area)
1 6.5 oz. container of Alouette (Ours was the “garlic & herbs” kind, but any flavor would work. I imagine another brand of spreadable cheese could be substituted; I plan to try this with pimento cheese at some point soon!)
~1 lb. cherry tomatoes, tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper
Roast tomatoes at 425 degrees for about ten minutes or until very soft and beginning to blister and char. Place them in a medium-sized bowl, including the liquid from roasting. Boil the pasta until al dente and drain water, reserving two cups in a separate vessel. Pour back into the pasta one half-cup of water and, while it’s still hot, add the Aloutte and stir until it’s melted and the mixture is consistently combined. Add more pasta water as necessary to thin the sauce, if desired, and add this mixture to the bowl of tomatoes. Stir gently and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve alongside a protein (anything goes: sausage, fish, chicken, meatballs, steak, pork loin, tofu…the possibilities are multitudinous!). To pay homage to both languages in the name of this recipe, voilà and buon appetito!