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Goat cheese with spicy tomato sauce

Serves 8

This Piedmontese classic's Italian name is caprino alla salsa rossa, but Goldstein writes that it is also sometimes called tomini elettrici, or ``electric goat cheese." The dish would go best with a Dolcetto or a Nebbiolo d'Alba, according to ``Antipasti." Serve with toasted bread, and use leftover sauce with roast beef or chicken.

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups peeled, seeded, and finely chopped plum tomatoes (fresh or canned)
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Pinch of sugar (optional)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
8 rounds fresh goat cheese (each 2 or 3 ounces)
Few handfuls of salad greens dressed with olive oil (optional)
8 slices toasted or grilled bread
1. In a small saucepan, combine the red pepper and olive oil. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and let it stand for a few minutes longer, so that the pepper flavor infuses the oil. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, vinegar, and a little sugar if the sauce seems too tart. Set the pan over low heat, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until thickened.

2. Remove the sauce from the heat, add salt and black pepper, and leave to cool completely. Taste again and adjust the seasoning.

3. Arrange the goat cheese rounds on salad plates and spoon the sauce evenly over the cheeses. Garnish the plates with greens, if you like and serve with the bread.

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