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Green Pasta With Blue Cheese

by . Featured in NIGELLISSIMA
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Introduction

I know this sounds like a Doctor Seuss recipe (only without the elastic scansion) but this is, as the Italians say, sul serio. The green factor is not crucial, but since this came about because I happened upon some spinach-dyed stubby coils of trottole, the pasta shape named after its supposed resemblance to a spinning top. And since spinach is a component of this dish (its mineral earthiness the perfect foil to the palate-rasping picquancy of the Gorgonzola, though do use a less illustrious blue cheese if you prefer) it made perfect sense.

If you can’t find trottole (whether green or not) or, indeed, radiatori, which have a similarly corrugated form, do not despair. While I love the way the scant but fierce sauce cleaves to the shape, you do get some of that effect with the less radical curl of fusilli. And feel free to substitute toasted pinenuts for the pistachios; I often do.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

I know this sounds like a Doctor Seuss recipe (only without the elastic scansion) but this is, as the Italians say, sul serio. The green factor is not crucial, but since this came about because I happened upon some spinach-dyed stubby coils of trottole, the pasta shape named after its supposed resemblance to a spinning top. And since spinach is a component of this dish (its mineral earthiness the perfect foil to the palate-rasping picquancy of the Gorgonzola, though do use a less illustrious blue cheese if you prefer) it made perfect sense.

If you can’t find trottole (whether green or not) or, indeed, radiatori, which have a similarly corrugated form, do not despair. While I love the way the scant but fierce sauce cleaves to the shape, you do get some of that effect with the less radical curl of fusilli. And feel free to substitute toasted pinenuts for the pistachios; I often do.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Green Pasta with Blue Cheese
Photo by Petrina Tinslay

Ingredients

Serves: 2 hungry people

Metric Cups
  • 250 grams trottole verde or any curled pasta of choice
  • salt for pasta water (to taste)
  • 125 grams gorgonzola piccante or other soft blue cheese (crumbled or chopped)
  • 100 grams baby spinach leaves
  • freshly ground pepper (slightly coarser than regular if possible)
  • 3 x 15ml tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • 8 ounces trottole verde or any curled pasta of choice
  • salt for pasta water (to taste)
  • 4 ounces gorgonzola piccante or other soft blue cheese (crumbled or chopped)
  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves
  • freshly ground pepper (slightly coarser than regular if possible)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pistachios

Method

  1. Heat water in a pan for the pasta, salting it when it comes to the boil, then add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions, but checking 3 minutes before it’s meant to be done. This needs to be really al dente because it will carry on cooking as you make the sauce.
  2. Before draining the pasta, remove a cupful of pasta-cooking liquid, then tip the drained pasta back in the hot pan with 2 tablespoonfuls of the liquid, the crumbled cheese and the baby spinach, and give a good grinding of coarse black pepper. Put the lid on the pan – off the heat, though back on the stove – and leave to stand for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid, turn the heat back on low, and stir the pasta, cheese and spinach together, along with as much of the cupful of cooking liquid as you need – I find 100ml / a scant ½ cup total is about right – until the cheese is melted into a light sauce and the spinach wilted.
  4. Take off the heat, toss with about two-thirds of the chopped pistachios and divide between 2 warmed bowls, sprinkling each bowl with the remaining nuts. Serve immediately.
  1. Heat water in a pan for the pasta, salting it when it comes to the boil, then add the pasta and cook according to packet instructions, but checking 3 minutes before it’s meant to be done. This needs to be really al dente because it will carry on cooking as you make the sauce.
  2. Before draining the pasta, remove a cupful of pasta-cooking liquid, then tip the drained pasta back in the hot pan with 2 tablespoonfuls of the liquid, the crumbled cheese and the baby spinach, and give a good grinding of coarse black pepper. Put the lid on the pan – off the heat, though back on the stove – and leave to stand for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid, turn the heat back on low, and stir the pasta, cheese and spinach together, along with as much of the cupful of cooking liquid as you need – I find 100ml / a scant ½ cup total is about right – until the cheese is melted into a light sauce and the spinach wilted.
  4. Take off the heat, toss with about two-thirds of the chopped pistachios and divide between 2 warmed bowls, sprinkling each bowl with the remaining nuts. Serve immediately.

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