12 May 2010

Gorgonzola Pasta: A College Kid's Gourmet Staple

As many college students do, I lived on pantry staples during my off-campus-apartment days. Beans and rice - oh so nice! Anything in a can was in the menu plan. And lotsa pasta (it barely cost a thing).

My roommate introduced me to this dish, a recipe she'd received from her aunt in Seattle. It amped up our rote, bland meals with a gourmet flair, yet still fit the bill for being (mostly) shelf-stable and cheap (the recipe makes enough to stretch over the course of a few meals. We'd tuck into it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner after the initial serving. Or invite over our apartment neighbors to share the wealth.)

It's an unfussy, delectable concoction of creamy, tangy Gorgonzola cheese stirred into a sauce of whole tomatoes, ribbons of basil, and chopped/sauteed onions and garlic.

The result? A foodic representation of the Italian flag: white, red, and green. Simple yet smashing.

Gorgonzola Pasta (adapted from my college roommate's aunt, who lives somewhere in my fair city of Seattle)
Serves 8 (though I find it can be stretched to at least 12)

2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 can whole Italian plum tomatoes (or San Marzano, if you're not on a college-kid's budget)
1 pkg (or 1 cup, from your garden) chopped fresh basil* (can substitute 1 Tbsp crumbled dry basil from your pantry)
4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (This is the star ingredient of your show. It's worth the pennies.)
1 lb penne or other small pasta, like rotini
1/2 c. Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
salt/pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large, deep skillet. Add chopped onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Stir in chopped tomatoes and basil. Cook until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally (about 20 mins.)

In a separate large pot, boil water & cook pasta until al dente (usually 6-8 minutes. Check the package for cooking times). Drain well and return to pot.

Return to your tomato sauce; whisk in the Gorgonzola until it starts to melt into a blush colored sauce.

Add the sauce to the pasta, gently tipping the tomato-sauce pan over the pasta pot. Stir to coat. Season with salt & pepper, and sprinkle with grated cheese before serving.

*If serving this for a date, reserve some of the whole basil leaves for a garnish.

Goes well with white or red wine or a light beer, crusty garlic bread, and a salad (Eat your greens!).

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  1. Yummm.... must try that :)

  2. This sounds delicious, and one of my favorite cheeses. I can also get it here in Korea, which is amazing, when you consider how bad the cheese selection is here in Korea!

  3. @Stephanie - yes I (clearly) recommend you try the recipe. Easy and delicious.

    @Nancie - That's awesome that you can get Gorg even in Korea. Hope you enjoy another way to use it!