Penne pasta doused in a smooth gorgonzola sauce with pancetta, mushrooms and leek. Smooth pasta plans don’t come more flavorful than this!
The second somebody asks me what my number one cheddar is, the word ‘gorgonzola’ flies out of my mouth before they’ve even completed the process of talking. I LOVE GORGONZOLA. Strange sums… Also, who doesn’t adore pasta? You see where I’m going with this 🤣
Gorgonzola bodes well in this formula for the above reasons, however you can sub other blue cheeses. Nonetheless, I suggest getting going with a large portion of the sum and working up (so it doesn’t wind up excessively solid). I likewise suggest tracking down a blue cheddar with a creamier surface rather than a brittle surface, to make sure it weds into the sauce better.
- 12.3oz / 350g Penne (or pasta of choice)
- 3/4 cup / 180ml Double/Heavy Cream, at room temp
- 5.3oz / 150g Pancetta, diced (can sub bacon)
- 5.3oz / 150g Mushrooms, sliced (I use Chestnut Mushrooms)
- 3.5oz / 100g Gorgonzola, diced into large chunks
- 1 Leek, trimmed and diced (see notes)
- 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- In a large pan over medium heat add pancetta. Fry for a few mins until it starts to leak fat and JUST begins to brown, then add mushrooms. Continue frying until the mushrooms soften and begin to brown, then add your diced leek.
- Carry on frying, stirring frequently until the pancetta is crispy with the fat full rendered and the mushrooms/leeks are cooked through and nicely browned.
- Meanwhile, add your pasta to a large pot of salted water (season the water well) and cook until al dente. Just before draining, scoop a cup of the starchy pasta water.
- Melt 2 tbsp butter into the pan and once melted, pour in 1/2cup/125ml of the starchy pasta water. Quickly stir to emulsify the starchy water, pancetta fat and butter. Reduce it down for a few mins, stirring as you go, then pour in cream.
- Give it a good stir then melt in the gorgonzola. Once fully melted, season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for a few mins until it begins to thicken, then stir through the pasta.
- If the sauce is still slightly thin then keep it on the heat and stir until the sauce thickens around the pasta. With the same token, if the sauce soaks up too quickly then thin it back out with some more starchy pasta water.
- Pancetta Fat – I don’t use oil to start off frying this, it fries well in it’s own fat. Just keep heat on a medium. Also, I usually keep the fat in (if there’s not an extreme amount) for extra flavour and emulsify it with the pasta water, but you can drain away if you want to.
- Leeks – ensure you trim off the dark green leaves (you can save these for stocks and soups, too tough to eat normally) and ensure you rinse the leek in cold water to remove any hidden dirt.
- Starchy Water – Important the pasta water is a) well seasoned (so it doesn’t dilute the flavour) and b) nice and starchy (so it helps create the creamy sauce). Make sure you don’t pour too much water in the pot to boil otherwise it won’t be starchy enough. Also, make sure you scoop the water out JUST before draining the pasta.
- Can I use other Blue Cheeses? – Gorgonzola works great for it’s smooth and creamy texture and it’s subtle flavour. You can use other blue cheeses but you may have to reduce the quantity or it’ll overpower the dish. Just work to preference.
- Calories – Divided by 4.