As I was waiting for the deli guy to slice my coppa, I notice they were offering a Gorgonzola, walnut and grape pasta salad. I’m not really a fan of cold pasta and I’m wary of buying the stuff at the deli. In my experience deli salads rarely taste as good as they look. A light bulb did go off in my head, however, and I knew what I’d be making for dinner.
This pasta is easy and creamy (which I didn't do a good job of capturing). If you're worried about the cheese being too strong, no need. It mellows out when it's cooked. With that said, the quality of the blue cheese is important here, since the whole dish is based on the sauce. I do not recommend those pre-crumbled blue (or feta) cheeses available in most supermarkets because I think they taste terrible. My favorite blues come from Rogue Creamery, an Oregon cheese producer that makes fantastic (and award winning) blue and cheddar cheese. For this pasta I used their Smokey Blue, which had a nice distinct taste, although I wouldn't have guessed it was smoked.
Pasta with caramelized onions and kale in blue cheese sauce
- 1 cup pecans , toasted on a pan or under a broiler for about 5 minutes and lightly crushed (optional, but highly recommended)
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 2/3 cup cream
- 4 oz of your favorite blue cheese, plus some for crumbling on top (I don’t recommend one that is too soft)
- a little milk, if necessary
- ½ lbs pasta like spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine
- Salt and pepper to taste
Once your onions are going, put on your pasta water. You’ll want to cook the pasta at least 2 to 3 minutes less than the package directions, since they will get additional time in the sauce.
In the same pan you used for the onions, add the cream and cheese. Once the cheese is melted, add the onions and kale back in and mix well. Turn off the heat until the pasta is ready. Don’t worry if the sauce seems thin. It thickens up nicely once you turn the pasta in it.
Once you are ready to dump the drained pasta in, put the pan back on the heat and mix everything together. The pasta will finish cooking and absorb some of the liquid and at the same time, the sauce will thicken. If it gets too thick or dry, add a little milk to loosen it. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, topping each serving with some of the crushed pecans and crumbled blue cheese.