Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Penne with Spinach, Walnuts, and Gorgonzola

(serves two adults and two children)

If you ever get tired of making penne with broccoli raab (my family's quick, meatless standby), try this simple, comforting recipe. The availability of decent chives, crumbled Gorgonzola, and baby spinach in just about every grocery store these days makes preparation a snap. Not so when I was younger!

½ c chopped walnuts
a handful of chives (to make ¼ c chopped)
1 lb dried penne
1 c heavy cream
3½ oz crumbled  Gorgonzola
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
10 oz baby spinach

1. Put on a large pot of salted water to boil.

2. Toast the walnuts on the stovetop or in the oven. Finely chop the chives.

3. Cook the penne in the boiling water until just barely done.

4. Meanwhile, combine the cream and Gorgonzola in a large nonstick skilet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. When the sauce has thickened a little, add the spinach in batches, stirring it as it wilts.

5. When the penne is done, drain it, reserving some of the pasta water. Add the penne to the skillet along with half of the walnuts and chives. Toss to coat with the sauce, adding some of the reserved pasta water if the sauce seems overly thick. Continue to cook until the pasta has absorbed the sauce, about 2 minutes. Serve  with the remaining walnuts and chives.

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