Today is World Pasta Day, so let get down to a simple, and in my opinion delicious pasta dish. It incorporates 2 different types of cheese as well as refreshing tomatoes with sage. This Penne with Gorgonzola and Mozzarella is a staple pasta dishes in our house.
I used to make it with ‘normal’ penne, but years ago I switched to whole grain and use that ever since for this particular recipe. As with every recipe, you can put your own mark on it, but a few suggestions, I would like to make.
I use shallots instead of regular onions; you only need a little bit to add a lot of flavor. I used butter instead of oil to brown the shallots, again for flavor reasons. Cream and creme fraiche instead of only cream or partly half-and-half. Less chance for curdling.
As far as the Mozzarella is concerned, I use the mozzarella balls, not the shredded low moisture mozzarella you see in the grocery stores. Advantages of the mozzarella balls is more flavor, but you will need to know that it can lump together. That is not a problem, just add a little bit of lemon juice and it is over. I would not use the buffala mozzarella, because you don’t really taste the difference in this dish and it is more expensive. As far as the low moisture mozzarella; it has little flavor and requires more liquid to keep the creamy sauce thin.
Last but not least, I prefer the Gorgonzola Dolce over the Mountain Gorgonzola or sharp Gorgonzola. Simply because it is softer in flavor and creamier, so it melts nicer.
Penne with Gorgonzola and Mozzarella
- 4 ounces whole grain penne
- 2 whole shallots
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 ounces whipping cream
- 4 ounces creme fraiche
- 3 ounces Mozzarella cheese
- 3 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
- salt and pepper
- nutmeg optional
- 4 ounces cherry tomatoes
- sage leaves
- Cook the pasta according to the direction on the packaging and drain.
- Mince the shallots. Heat the butter in a skillet and add the shallot. Cook them light brown and soft.
- Chop the mozzarella in small pieces.
- Add the whipping cream and creme fraiche to the shallots and add the mozzarella. Keep on low heat and melt the mozzarella. The sauce should become slightly thicker.
- If the mozzarella lumps together, add a little bit of lemon juice and the lumps will disappear.
- Season with salt and pepper. Add some nutmeg if you like.
- Halve the tomatoes and chop the sage leaves fine.
- Add the drained pasta to the cream sauce and mix. Pour mixture into 2 bowls.
- Slice the Gorgonzola cheese thin and cover the pasta.
- Place bowl a few minutes under a medium hot broiler and allow the cheese to melt.
- Bake tomato-halves and sage in skillet while the cheese melts and divide tomatoes over bowls, just before serving.