Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Guest Chef, Mary

Our father Gene/Grandfather was such a good cook that his wife Mary didn't have to bother. After his passing a few years ago she found a new interest in cooking and this has spurred her to try some new recipes. Here is a dish we both cooked together on my last visit.

She was looking for a dish to make for guests and maybe one of those easy standards you could just throw together. We found this recipe in a the William Sonoma cookbook, Pasta: food made fast, and we both thought it was a keeper. It is rich, look at how much cream, and very easy and most important; delicious. We added some leftover chicken and thought some chopped parsley would have been a good finish.

I tried a lower fat version of the recipe substituting the cream with Trader Joe's Fat Free Half and Half with an equally yummy result though admittedly not as rich. I also added chicken and some lightly sauteed zucchini slices. I also picked up some Dolce Gorgonzola from Whole Paycheck. This was stronger than the Cambozola; I'd use either next time. This is one of those you-can-fuddle-with-all-you-want recipes.

Creamy Penne with Walnuts

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 oz. Gorgonzola, dolce (Mary used Cambazola)
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1 lb penne pasta

Melt Butter in large skillet, add cheese and melt. Add cream, simmer 3 minutes but do not boil. Sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and walnuts.
Drain cooked pasta reserving some cooking water. Add pasta to sauce, stir. If sauce needs thinning use reserved cooking water. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Mary has appeared on this site before when I shamefully used her as my own personal sous-chef.

Easy to print pdf of recipe


sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

Looks awesome~ and so easy! I wonder if pecans would work as well?

doodles said...

mary, mary, mary cannot wait to arrive and you and the other PBE ladies will cook a meal....soon!!!

sandi - in my mind pecans will work with anything!

Ellie said...

Holy guacamole, I think I felt my arteries thickening from just reading that recipe, but man I don't care, it sounds comforting and delicious!

mooncrazy said...

Sandi, yes I think they would work, anything to enhance the nutty taste of the parmesan.

Ellie, you can use the non fat half and half, it still is yummy.

janelle said...

My hubby calls it whole paycheck too: how funny! I LOVE 'easy standard' meals. Lately I have been calling them default dinners:).


p.s. I LOVE Trader Joe's!

janelle said...

...actually I like your coined term "go to dinners" even better. Don't you think there should be some standard name for 'those kind of meals/nights/recipes'?


Terry B said...

This sounds delicious! And quick and easy--something appreciated on busy nights and the kind of cooking I find myself doing more often than not.

A way to lighten it up a little without losing too much richness would be to use regular half and half. Still not a diet dish, by any means, but less fat-calorie laden than cream.