Pasta with Gorgonzola, Asparagus and Pea Shoots
Blue cheeses can be very polarizing; some people love it and some people hate it. I like Gorgonzola because it is so smooth and buttery; it is easily melted to make this sauce. It gives the pasta that tangy, salty taste without being too overpowering, especially when combined with the Parmesan, which has a sharp nutty flavor. If you aren’t a big fan of blue cheeses try this recipe with Gorgonzola dolce, which is a young, milder and creamy cheese. Pea shoots are the leaves and tendrils of pea plant vines. They are easy to find at farmer’s markets in spring and pair well with crisp asparagus and English peas.
1 pound stozzapreti pasta*
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup Parmesan
½ pound Gorgonzola, crumbled
½ teaspoon rubbed sage
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon diced shallot
2 cups roughly chopped asparagus
1 cup shelled English peas
4 ounces pea shoots
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add 1 teaspoon of the salt and bring back to the boil. Pour in the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.
Reduce the heat to low then stir in the cream, then slowly add the Parmesan cheese and continuously stir until the cheese has melted. Slowly add the crumbled Gorgonzola until it has completely melted and the sauce is creamy. Stir in the sage. Remove the pasta from the heat and cover to keep warm.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and allow it to melt. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté about 3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Then add the asparagus and peas and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until vibrant green and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the pea greens and sauté until wilted. Season with the remaining salt and pepper. Fold the vegetables into the pasta mixture until combined.
In a small sauté pan over medium heat, add the remaining butter and allow it to melt. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to coat in the butter. Let cook, stirring constantly, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
To serve: ladle the pasta into warmed pasta bowls and top with the breadcrumbs.
*Note: stozzapreti is a type of elongated cavatelli, if stozzapreti cannot be found then cavatelli can be used as a substitute.