Blue Cheese and Mushroom Pasta

Blue Cheese, also referred to as Gorgonzola, Roquefort or Stilton depending on where it originates from and the type of bacteria used, is believed to have been discovered by accident many years ago (and by that I mean close on two centuries ago) when, you guessed it, mold began to grow and someone decided to eat it – Why? Who knows. Why do humans do many of the things we do. Probably because we can. Our innate curiosity has led to many wonderful and life changing discoveries through the ages.

I’ve never been a fan of any type of blue cheese. Just trying to get to grips with the idea that I’m meant to be eating something with bacteria on it, that I can actually see, was always sufficient to quash any curiosity I had growing up, never mind the smell. Wikipedia likens the smell of some blue cheeses to “foot odour and other human body odours”. Er…doesn’t sound fabulous, does it? But what I have discovered, is tantamount to pure genius. Melt it into a creamy sauce and the smell, bacteria and blue colour disappear and you’re left with a creamy, delicious yet slightly tangy yumminess that is delightful to the tastebuds on anything from steak to burgers to pasta. It even turns a good old cauliflower/broccoli dish into a heavenly treat…and no-one even needs to know :).

Blue Cheese, Mushroom and Spinach Pasta

Being Winter, it was a cold wet rainy afternoon in Auckland so we unpacked the Monopoly, gathered round the dining table and proceeded to prove, once again, that I’m absolutely rubbish at the game and there purely to make the rest of my family look good. I’m so bad, in fact, that I eventually clicked onto the fact that my dear darling husband had been sneaking money onto my rapidly reducing pile of notes in an attempt to try to prolong my presence in the game before all my properties were mortgaged and I was declared bankcrupt. My kind of Monopoly luck means I get all the “Go to jail, move directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect your money” cards and have the knack of landing on everyone else’s properties but my own. I have also mastered the art of landing on the “pay tax” spaces just after I pass Go so I have the joy of holding my $2 million notes for a total of about 2 seconds before I have to return them to the bank, but at least it’s worth a good laugh and I get to have my family all in one place focused on the same thing for as many hours as it takes until someone is triumphantly declared the winner. I tend to end up hovering and serving up snacks and drinks for the duration. One game last December lasted 3 days!

So last night, things ran a little behind schedule until we realised it was dark, late and we were all hungry. A quick check on the contents of the pantry and fridge meant I was able to produce a delicious vegetarian pasta within about 20 minutes.  Almost the same amount of time as it takes to cook the pasta. Even my 7 year old had two helpings of this spaghetti so I know it’s good! Anything that gets that kind of compliment is definitely a keeper.

ingredients:
pasta of your choice
200g portabello mushrooms
1 clove garlic (optional)
150 ml full cream
150ml dry white wine (optional)
1 100 g wedge creamy blue cheese
spinach leaves
frozen peas
parmesan shavings (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet. Add the frozen peas to the boiling water about 2 minutes before the end.
  2. Slice the mushrooms and peal and crush the garlic, if using. Gently fry in a little butter until softened but not coloured.
  3. Add the white wine, if using, and allow to reduce by about half.
  4. Add the cream and turn down the heat.
  5. Crumble the blue cheese into the creamy mixture and stir. The cheese will melt beautifully.
  6. Add the spinach leaves and allow to wilt. If using frozen spinach, cook it separately first and squeeze out any water before adding it to the sauce.
  7. Pour the sauce over the cooked spaghetti and peas and make sure all spaghetti is well covered coated with the sauce.
  8. Dish up and add a few parmesan shavings (use a potato peeler to shave it thinly).
  9. Season to taste and serve hot.

Enjoy!

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