15 October 2011

Pear and radicchio pasta in a blue cheese cream sauce

I am a total sucker for pasta with cream sauce. I love it so much that I could happily eat it for supper every other night. Of course, if I did, I'd propably be around 250 pounds by now which is the one and only reason I don't. But every once in a while I give in temptation and make myself a nice, steaming bowl of pasta which I top with a sauce that could fulfill my calorie requirement for several days. My favourites are Carbonara and mushroom cream sauce coated with parsley and parmesan. And since yesterday night, I have a new one.

I came across this recipe (or rather a version of it) on Gourmandises végétariennes, a vegetarian/vegan blog I've been following for over a year. It was love at first sight. Nevertheless, I felt that something about the recipe just wasn't right. Something was missing. I struggled to find out what it was until I remembered a delicious soup I had at my favourite soup restaurant a few weeks ago. A potato, pear and blue cheese soup. And there it was: Blue cheese. I was going to add blue cheese. And much more cream.

It may not be the prettiest dish ever, but we all know that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. Or a dish by its looks (and please ignore the chipped edge in the bowl).
Unfortunately, you can't see much of the pear in the picture as it's been completely smothered with sauce. But if you squint really hard, you should be able to spot some in the middle. The taste of the pear, however, is very prominent and goes, oh, so well with the radicchio and the blue cheese. This combination of sweet, bitter and savoury-salty is just, there's no other word for it, so yummy! The walnuts taste really walnutty (What a surprise! But really, there are only few things better than toasted walnuts. I love them. I could write songs about them. Love poems. Musicals.) and they add a nice crunchy crunch to the ensemble.

Nuff said. Go ahead and try it yourself.

Pear and radicchio pasta in a blue cheese cream sauce
(inspired by and adapted from Gourmandises végétariennes and my favourite soup restaurant which unfortunately doesn't have a website)

Serves 1 hungry person with some left over to eat cold the next morning (What? You don't like to eat cold pasta for breakfast?)

As much pasta as you want. (I used wholewheat which, I know, doesn't come out in the picture)
Half a small radicchio (about 100 g)
1 handful of walnuts
1 firm pear (mine wasn't that firm anymore but still ok. It shouldn't be too soft though otherwise it will just fall apart)
1 onion, red or white (whichever you prefer)
150 g/5.25 oz cream (maybe a little more)
75 g/2.5 oz Danish Blue (any other strong blue cheese like roquefort or gorgonzola will do as well)
Olive oil

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions.

Wash and spin the radicchio, then chop it. Put aside.

In a searing hot pan, toast the walnuts for a few minutes (without any oil or butter), then put them aside.
Dice the onion and cut the pear into smallish pieces. Sweat the onion in olive oil until translucent, then add the pear. After a few minutes, add the cheese. When half of it has melted, deglaze with cream and turn down the heat. Cook until all the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened. Gourmandise adds white wine which I left out as I like my sauces rich and thick. However, if you prefer a more runny sauce, add white wine until the sauce has reached the desired consistency. Season with freshly ground pepper.

Toss the pasta into a bowl, add the radicchio and the sauce and put the walnuts on top. Combine. Eat.

Bon appétit!

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