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Creamy Penne with Walnuts

Creamy Penne with Walnuts
The success of this simple, creamy sauce depends upon the cheese. Use a young, very mild Gorgonzola, often called dolce. Aged Gorgonzola is too strong for this sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 6 oz. mild Gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
      cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • 1 lb. penne or other tubular pasta
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely
      chopped

Directions:

Make the sauce
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. In a large fry pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Stir in the Gorgonzola, mashing it with a wooden spoon. Add the cream and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Do not allow the sauce to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and pepper.

Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, add the salt and pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce along with the walnuts and stir to combine. Add as much of the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Warm briefly over low heat to blend the flavors and serve. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).