This recipe is a riff on one I saw recently in Fine Cooking magazine, and represents such a classic combination of Italian flavors I knew I had to try it right away. I made it with a great gluten-free pasta made by a company called Ancient Harvest. They make it with quinoa and corn flours, hence the beautiful golden color you see in the photo. This was originally supposed to be our Meatless Monday meal this week, but as we had so much roast pork tenderloin left-over form the weekend, we ended up eating that on Monday instead. Meatless Tuesday doesn't quite have the same ring to it, but there you go.
Of course, those of you not on the Meatless Monday bandwagon could add all sorts of tasty bits to this, from sausage to chicken to shrimp. Boris in particular struggles with our meatless meals, the habit of having an animal protein in every dinner meal is just so deeply ingrained in him, nd the poor guy looks almost deflated when he realizes dinner is sans meat. Most of us though find that as long as the meal is substantial enough (no clear-broth meatless soup, thank you very much), then we are OK passing on it once or twice a week. I suggest you all give it a try, for your health, for the animals, or just for fun and let me know what you think.
As with pretty much any dish we share here, feel free to modify this one to suit your own tastes. The next time we make this I'll probably use chard or kale instead of the spinach (my wife's request), and maybe add some chopped sun-dried tomatoes for a little acidity (my desire). Any way you go, if you start with the basic bones of this dish you can't go far wrong.
Cheers – Steve
Quinoa Pasta with Gorgonzola Cream, Spinach and Roasted Walnuts
- 1 pound Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta (or other pasta of your choice)
- 1 1/2 cups walnut halves, roughly chopped
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 5 ounces of Gorgonzola dolce cheese (or other favorite blue cheese)
- 12 ounces baby spinach (about 15 cups, packed)
- freshly snipped chives for garnish
- Heat your oven to 350℉. Place the chopped walnuts on a sheet tray and place them in the oven to roast for about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.
- Heat the cream and cheese in a large skillet over medium heat, whisking to melt the cheese. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce to thicken slightly. Toss in the spinach and walnuts and cook until all the spinach has wilted. Turn off the heat and cover to keep warm.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add the pasta and cook per the manufacturer's instructions (about 6 minutes for the pasta we used). Drain well, then pour over the cream sauce and stir. Bring the heat up to medium high and stir to coat all of the pasta with the sauce. If the sauce is too thin continue to cook for another minute or two, if too thick, thin with a little of the pasta cooking water. Taste for seasoning, adding kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Spoon into warmed bowls, sprinkle with snipped chives and serve with some freshly grated cheese if desired. Serve with a crisp green salad and a crusty loaf of bread.