Penne with cheese sauce and nasturtiums – 7 April 2013


I made ths pasta under false pretenses – I thought I still had some of the excellent Cheese Board Roquefort to use up, and I didn’t; I thought I could use the last of the cream, but it was bad already – but the pasta was good anyway 😉

The recipe is from The Pasta Bible, and I make it at least once or twice a year, when nasturtiums are out. There are three ingredient-threads that come together. Once the pre-prep is done, the cooking can be started when the pasta is in the pot (so long as it’s dried pasta!) One: cook penne till al dente. Two: boil (this is for 2 people) 1/2 cup cream (half and half, or even, in a pinch [like tonight] whole milk will do) till it’s reduced by 1/3, add 1 1/2 oz opinionated Italian fontina (Valle d’Aosta, for example), cubed, and whisk or stir briskly till it’s melted; remove from heat, cool slightly, add 14 cup gragted parmesan. Three: cook 1 clove minced garlic and 1/8 cup minced shallots in 1 Tbsp butter till translucent; add nasturtium leaves and petals, cut in long strips [I typically use 10 flowers and 10 leaves, but more flowers would not hurt. This time I used 5 or 6 huge leaves. The long strips may make it harder to separate the tangled mixture at serving time, so cutting as short as an inch would not be out of order.] and one seeded and deveined dry red pepper, minced. Remove from heat. Drain the cooked penne well, return to the hot saucepan, and stir in the cheese sauce, and then the nasturtium mixture. Mix well, and place into heated soup plates. Dot with 1 oz good Roquefort, cubed, and place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes – the least you can manage and still melt the Roquefort. I used Gorgonzola dolce instead tonight b/c that’s what we have. Salt and pepper in there somewhere if it needs it. Remarkably, with all that cheese, tonight it needed salt.

D chose a Costco Cotes du Rhone from E. Guigal (2009) which we enjoyed. It was a fine choice for this pasta.

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