Serves 4-6 Generously
This is a sophisticated and yet easy do-ahead hors d’oeuvre that is ideal for entertaining. The bright acidity and hint of citrus in the Amici Sauvignon Blanc are a perfect complement to the creamy chèvre. Simply pop it in the oven just before guests arrive, open a bottle of Amici Sauvignon Blanc, and enjoy the party!
In a large saucepot over medium high heat, add the olive oil and onions. Sauté until translucent. Add the minced garlic and continue to cook until the garlic develops an aroma, then add the bay leaf, red pepper flakes and diced red peppers to the pot. Cook for about two minutes or just until the juice from the peppers begins to evaporate. Add the San Marzano tomatoes and the herbs and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the sauce has been reduced by about half. Season with salt and pepper and then remove from heat. The sauce is now ready to use, but would benefit from an additional day of "resting" to allow the flavors to meld.
Combine the chèvre, olive oil, thyme, oregano and basil in a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the goat cheese on low speed until just combined. Remove the goat cheese and re-shape into two flat disks if making two small appetizer dishes, or one flat disk. Set aside.
Combine all ingredients.
Preheat an oven to 425°. Place 2 cups of sauce in a shallow 2-quart baking dish and spread to evenly coat the bottom of the dish. Place the disk of goat cheese in the center of the baking dish and spoon additional sauce around the goat cheese to come about half-way up the cheese. Place a generous amount of the breadcrumbs over the cheese and tomato sauce and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until bubbling and hot. Serve with sliced baguettes or crackers accompanied by Amici Cellars Sauvignon Blanc.
The three separate elements of this appetizer can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Simply assemble the dish just before baking, bake as directed and serve.