Faithful readers know that I adore blue cheese -- Maytag, Gorgonzola, Stilton, doesn't matter. Salad dressing, dip, crumbled onto salad ... I love it!
After an enormously stressful day at work last week, I was craving some comfort. I'd had the idea of making macaroni and cheese from scratch, which ultimately evolved into pasta with a blue cheese sauce poured over it. And so, when I left work that fateful day I headed straight to the grocery store to get my ingredients. Cooking is my favorite way to decompress, after all.
Rigatoni, with its sturdiness, seemed the perfect shape, though shells or macaroni or penne or rotini would also work well. I debated whether to add spinach or green beans or peas, but the sweetness of the peas seemed to be the perfect complement.
I boiled and drained and stirred and whisked, and came up with a dish that perfectly matched my vision. It was golden and slightly toasted on top, yet the pasta was coated in creaminess. The blue cheese flavor was present, but neither pronounced nor prominent. My dinner was hot, delicious, and a perfect nurturing and nourishing end to my day.
Now, it's a simple dish so I should really just call it "Pasta with Blue Cheese Sauce." But that doesn't have a lot of charm, does it??? Specify the shape of the pasta, and roll the "r" when you say "rigatoni" ... that's better!
Say it in Italian next, to add a little flair to it: [ree-gah-TOH-nee kohn gohr-gun-ZOH-lah]. Wow ... now it sounds like something you'd order at a fancy restaurant!
But now that you know how easy it is, you can make it yourself one day when you just need something warm and wonderful to eat to make all your troubles float away ....
Rigatoni con Gorgonzola
1 pound rigatoni
1/2 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
pinch of salt
1 cup skim milk
4 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
few splashes Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Cook the rigatoni according to package directions, adding the peas for the last minute of cooking.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan; whisk in flour and salt, and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly
Slowly add half the milk, whisking it into the butter/flour mixture until it is absorbed.
Add the Gorgonzola, Tabasco and mustard; whisk in the rest of the milk.
When the pasta is ready, drain it and stir it into the sauce; place into a greased 9" pie dish.
Broil for 5 minutes or so, just until the top is golden.