Saturday, October 23, 2010

0 Recipe #185: Mafalda in a Mushroom-Walnut Gorgonzola Sauce

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As you can see from the previous Gorgonzola and mushroom recipe, it's about time to use up the remaining quantities of those ingredients while they're still fresh. :)

Gorgonzola and mushrooms just go together. They are really versatile in their own right, but together, there are so many different things you can do with them. This recipe, like all of the recipes on this blog, is another original creation, which I created on the fly.

As for the process of recipe creation, I find it's best to just go for it and create, sometimes experimenting with new combos and other times doing a new take on an old classic. Very much like running, it's important to know what you can do on any given day. :) And for me, that also means that I've got to be in the right state of mind in order to create a recipe that I'll want to post here. Usually, it's best not to press one's luck when one is overly tired or cranky. ;) Those are the nights I make simple, favorite meals that don't take much preparation. ;) Also, those meals don't typically make it to the recipe blog; then again, a boiled egg, a simple salad, and fresh fruit for dessert really don't need a recipe. :)

The below recipe was made for tonight's dinner. Thankfully, it was an "on" night for the creative juices. ;)

Mafalda in a Mushroom-Walnut Gorgonzola Sauce

1 c. dry, uncooked mafalda pasta
4 c. water, lightly salted and seasoning with a drop of extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. shallots, peeled and finely minced (about 1 medium-sized shallot)
1 Tbsp. garlic, peeled and finely minced (about 1 large clove)
1 large, fresh bay leaf
1/4 c. (unsalted) walnuts, crushed
1 c. mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, cremini, "Baby Bella," etc.)
1 Tbsp. dry sherry
1 c. skim milk
1/2 c. ripe Gorgonzola cheese, softened (picante or mild)
1/4 tsp. ground oregano
1/4 tsp. ground thyme
1/8 tsp. ground marjoram
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp. ground white pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, julienned and tightly packed
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
2 Tbsp. Asiago or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly shredded

Directions: Turn heat on to high. Bring water to a rolling boil, about 8 minutes. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 more minutes (i.e., just follow package instructions). When ready, drain in a sieve or colander and set aside.

While pasta is cooking, make the sauce: In a large (12-13") nonstick sauté pan, sauté shallots, garlic, and bay leaf for 3 minutes on medium heat. Next, toss in crushed walnuts, and cook another 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook yet another 2 minutes. Turn down heat to medium-low and add sherry, followed shortly thereafter (i.e., about 30 seconds or so) by the milk and Gorgonzola, stirring occasionally to combine. Season with oregano, thyme, marjoram, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle flour on top, distributing it evenly across the pan, and thoroughly combine. Reduce liquid by about half and remove from heat. Mix in mafalda, nutmeg, basil, and lemon juice, if using, and toss. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle each portion with Asiago or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and serve.

Yield: 2 servings.

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