My aunt came to visit right after Christmas and brought some of her homemade Chèvre. I found this recipe for Shirred Eggs with Pesto, Pasta, and Chèvre in my newly acquired Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheesecookbook and thought it would be the perfect use for the goat cheese. “Melt” is one of my new favorite cookbooks. All the recipes use some variation of pasta and cheese, yum. The first chapter also includes a detailed introduction to cheese.
Shirred eggs (baked eggs) get their name from the original dish they were baked in, a shirrer (a shallow gratin dish). Shirred eggs differ from eggs en cocotte in that they are not cooked in a water bath.
I used storebought pesto, since basil isn’t currently in season. If you have access to plenty of good basil, definitely use your favorite recipe to make your own.
This recipe serves 6, but can easily be halved for 2-3 people. I actually cooked all the pasta at once, then divided it in half (refrigerating half for the next day). I prepared three ramekins for dinner, then another three the next day for lunch when there was enough lighting to photograph. It was such an easy lunch the next day with all the components prepared. I just had to layer them in the ramekin and the meal was ready within 30 minutes.
Shirred Eggs with Pesto, Pasta, and Chèvre
Adapted from Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese
Butter for greasing ramekins
6 ounces elbow macaroni
8 ounces Chèvre/goat cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Pesto, homemade or store-bought
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Use butter to grease 6 (6 ounce) ramekins and arrange on baking sheet.
Fill a large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Add elbow macaroni and cook until just tender, al dente. Drain and divide among buttered ramekins. Top each with Chèvre, then crack 2 eggs into each ramekin. Drizzle each with cream.
Bake in preheated oven just until egg whites are set and white, about 20 minutes. The yolks should still jiggle and be runny in the center.
If the pesto is too thick, mix in a little olive oil to create desired consistency. Drizzle each ramekin with pesto. Serve immediately.