A tavola che la pasta è pronta!
Meaning: Everybody to the table, the pasta is ready!
And not just any pasta. No, no, nooo! Today we’re making one of those pasta dishes that makes you drool just by reading the title: Casarecce Siciliane with Gorgonzola, Walnuts, Arugula and a touch of cream! I dare you to say it out loud and not drool.
C’mon, do it! I’ll wait…
Have you done it? Oh… you’re busy cleaning yourself from all the drooling. I see… It’s understandable! Been there, done that!!
So bold and luscious, this pasta is your best friend when you need something quick yet sophisticated for a dinner party. But also simple enough that is perfect for those crazy busy weeknights, since it takes less than 20 minutes!
A few weeks before we moved out from Manhattan, a new trattoria opened right on the corner of my old street.
For the 5 years that I lived in that apartment, I complained that the neighborhood didn’t have many nice restaurants. But from the moment we decided to move out, lots of trendy cool spots opened up. The foodie in me was… well, disappointed (not to say pissed!) For 5 years, my options within walking distance were Domino’s pizza or Taco Bell/KFC. *insert horror emoticon here*
Who knows, maybe that’s the reason why I decided to create a food blog about my homemade culinary creations, because if I lived in one of the NYC foodie neighborhoods, like Hell’s Kitchen or the West Village, I might have ended up being a take out freak like every other New Yorker I know and not caring about cooking at home.
Oh, who am I kidding? There’s no take out in the world that would prevent me from cooking. It’s my passion and what keeps me sane (most of the time!)
We did get to try (a few times! hehe) the new trattoria, which turned out to be as amazing as we’d imagined it would be.
The first time we went there I ordered the Garganelli with Gorgonzola and walnuts and immediately felt in love with the dish, so I knew I had to recreate at home.
It turns out that, as with every other delicious Italian dish, I only needed a few bold ingredients that would speak for themselves: pasta, baby arugula, gorgonzola, walnuts and cream. Also some milk, butter, garlic and shallots!
I did try to find the garganelli, but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Truth be told, I only went to one (big) store, but nowadays that’s all I have time for.
The casarecce looked like a good alternative, especially since my favorite pasta brand carries it on its new ‘Specialties’ line. It is also too darn cute! ❤ You can also use penne if you cannot find the casarecce or the garganelli and it’ll be just as delicious!
So off to the stove I went. All I had was the memory of how the dish tasted and the title on the menu, that I – obviously! – copied word by word. So I put my experimenting cap – figuratively, of course… How funny would it be if I had an experimenting cap? – and began my journey in pursuit of the perfect Casarecce Siciliane with Gorgonzola, walnuts and a touch of cream!
I started with a basic soffritto – butter, onions and garlic – because every Italian dish starts with a soffritto! It adds depth of flavor and it’s usually the component that you can’t immediately pinpoint when you really love a dish.
After that I added some milk and let it reduce. Then the cream, which really makes this dish! Do not skip on the cream. Go save calories on something else or burn them in the gym, but please do not skip the cream!
Finally it was time to add the crumbled gorgonzola and the baby arugula. Once the pasta was cooked al dente, I tossed it with the sauce and finish off with toasted chopped walnuts and some more crumbled gorgonzola.
It’s like the angels sang when I took the first bite. In harmony… while playing harp… and violins… and… you get it, it was heavenly!
I was planning with experimenting with the dish for a while before coming up with the perfect recipe, as I usually do with most dishes, but this one I nailed at the first attempt. I loved it so much that I had it for lunch, dinner and then lunch again the next day.
I don’t even think my husband had the opportunity to try it, but since it’s already on the menu for next week again, I don’t really care. He’ll have his chance. If he’s quick enough… because I might just eat the whole thing by myself again.
Am I ashamed of myself?
Nope! Not one little bit.
And, if you are judging me, just make this. I can bet you money you will understand the feeling! ;-)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 5 oz (about 1⅓ cups) crumbled gorgonzola, divided
- 1 cup baby arugula
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1lbs casarecce pasta (substitutes: garganelli or penne)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- While the water is boiling, prepare the sauce. On a large skillet, over medium high heat, melt the butter and sauté the chopped onion and garlic until translucent, about 2 minutes.
- Add the milk and, once it starts to boil, lower the heat and let it simmer until it reduces by half, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the heavy cream and, once simmering, add 1 cup of the Gorgonzola.
- Remove from heat, add the baby arugula and stir until the Gorgonzola melts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reserve.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions and drain, reserving ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Toss pasta with the creamy sauce, adding the pasta water if necessary.
- Top with the remaining ⅓ cup crumbled gorgonzola and the toasted chopped walnuts.
- Serve immediately!
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