Simple pasta dishes are one of life’s true treasures. Whether quickly stir-fried with crisp vegetables and tangy sauce or coated with a light combination of olive oil, garlic and lemon, pasta satisfies our hunger and brings everyone to the table in a hurry. Who can say no to a big bowl of carbs?
The recipe I’m sharing with you today is perfectly simple and full of wonderful, classic flavors. The original dish was made with homemade garlic pasta, creamy crumbled Gorgonzola, bright flat-leaf parsley, and crunchy toasted hazelnuts. I first enjoyed this comforting pasta during my recent visit to Minnesota. It was part of a four-course meal prepared by my good friend, Tim Cheesebrow. Apart from being my friend and being married to one of my very best girlfriends, Tim is a talented singer/songwriter. He has recorded one album, and is in the process of raising money for his second, Home in the Heartland. Click here to listen to some of Tim’s music, and if you like what you hear, you can contribute to his IndieGoGo campaign. One of the many incentives for contributing is a four-course Italian meal prepared by Tim himself. I was lucky enough to enjoy a 4 course meal that is very similar to what Tim will prepare for some of his contributors. Our menu began with a riff on a caprese salad, featuring mozzarella made from scratch, home grown basil pesto, and a sun-dried tomato puree. The next course was homemade garlic pasta with Gorgonzola and hazelnuts, followed by flavorful, and perfectly cooked, herb-rubbed lamb steaks. Finally, we indulged in freshly made pizzelles filled with chocolate mascarpone and sprinkled with coconut flakes. It was absolutely amazing and not at all helpful to my resolution of eating healthy…but so worth it every sinful bite (especially the chocolate mascarpone pizzelles)!
Just a note on homemade pasta: it isn’t a requirement for this dish, but once you get the hang of rolling out your own pasta dough, it is so worth the time and effort. Think you need a pasta machine to make your own? Nope. You can roll it out by hand using this foolproof recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. You have to plan ahead, because the dough needs to rest four hours. I thought that was crazy at first, but it turns out that it really helps the texture of the dough. If you do have a machine, I recommend this recipe from Jamie Oliver. It turns out perfectly every time! One last note on fresh pasta; you don’t have to search out Typo 00 flour. All purpose works just fine. Make a bowl of this pasta, pour a glass of wine (either white or red will pair with this dish), and listen to Tim’s tunes. Delicious food and fabulous music. What could be better?
And if you’d like to learn more about Tim and how he is spreading the joy of music to those around him, check out this video:
Pasta with Gorgonzola & Hazelnuts
- 1 pound fettuccine or tagliatelle, homemade or sore-bought
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Juice from 1 lemon
- Course salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
- 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- Fresh flat leaf parsley for garnish
Begin by cooking your pasta by adding it to a large pot of salted, boiling water. If you are using homemade pasta, you will only need 2 or 3 minutes of cooking time. If you are using store-bought, follow the package directions. While the water comes to a boil, assemble the sauce. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, olive oil, lemon juice salt and pepper. Set the bowl aside to let the ingredients mingle. When the pasta has finished cooking, reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and transfer it back to the pot. Add the sauce and toss to combine. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary, keeping in mind that the Gorgonzola has a nice bite that will add more flavor. Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl and top with the Gorgonzola, parsley and hazelnuts. Serve immediately.