Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pasta treat

The Royal Foodie Joust theme last month is to make a dish combining mushrooms, cheese and herbs. I read the theme too late to enter but the ingredients still got me started on thinking how to use them, and what I would make. The only mushrooms you get fresh here are good old button mushrooms - not that exciting, huh? I debated between various alternatives, including a soup, a simple mushroom au gratin type of thing or even stuffed mushroom caps. For some reason, I was determined to make something using blue cheese, which restricted the options a little bit.

My cousin and his wife were coming over on the first day of the Deepavali weekend, for lunch. This was the first time they were visiting us, so I wanted to make something special for lunch but not anything so elaborate that I would be in the kitchen the whole time. I also knew that they would have a heavy weekend ahead in terms of food so initially I was a bit stumped. Then it occurred to me, partly because I had been trying to come up with a recipe for the Royal Foodie Joust, that I could make a pasta. The sauce could easily be whipped up ahead of time, and the pasta itself would take a few minutes to cook. Accompanied by a hearty salad, some garlic bread and a ginger-cinnamon cake for dessert, it would be perfect.

The sauce was a dressed up version of Alfredo sauce, with heavy cream, Danish Blue cheese, basil and marjoram, button mushrooms and peas, with a few green chillies to add interest. The sweet young peas were bursting with flavour, a good contrast to the sharp tang of the blue cheese, and the green chillies added bite to an otherwise bland sauce. The herbs added layers to the flavour of this sauce, making it an even more complex and subtle tasting one. It was easy enough to make, and worked very well for our lunch guests, so I know I'll be making that again!

100 gms Danish Blue cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 small box button mushrooms, chopped fine
1 large red onion, chopped fine

1 cup green peas, lightly boiled in salted water
2-3 green chillies
Handful basil leaves, torn roughly
1 tsp dried Marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour a small glug of good olive oil into a saucepan.
Put in the basil and marjoram when the oil is hot, and then add the onion.
Cook until soft and translucent and add the green chillies and mushrooms.
Cook for a few minutes until the mushrooms turn soft.
Turn the heat down very low and add the blue cheese.
Wait until the cheese is almost completely melted and add the cream.
Whisk the sauce together until well mixed.
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour on top of a pasta of your choice. I would have preferred fettucine for this sauce but we had run out so I used wholewheat Penne rigate which also worked well. This makes enough sauce for 6 people.


Nags said...

looks lovely. never heard of this variety of cheese before..

bindiya said...

This is very interesting, your guests must have been very pleased at the lovely spread!

Happy cook said...

Yum i love pasta with blue cheese. I make sometimes with gorgonzola

bird's eye view said...

Thanks Nags - do try blue cheese. It has a rather pungent smell but a lovely, complex flavour.

Bindiya - it did work out well, and the best part was that I didn't have to spend too much time in the kitchen - always a boon!

Happy cook - I've made this with gorgonzola too, and used Gorgonzola for salad dressing which is simply decadent!