Weekend Pasta. Pappardelle with Creamy Gorgonzala, Spinach and Walnut.

As I was devouring today’s lunch of Pappardelle, I began to ponder the derivation of this word. Italian pasta shape names are often fanciful and descriptive, some shapes based on historical events, or conjuring images from nature, such as shells or hailstones. As it turns out, the word Pappardelle is derived from the verb Pappare– to wolf down or tuck into. This is spot on, given the way I love to slurp down these broad egg noodles, carriers of comforting sauces, hiding further treasures beneath their soft folds.

pappardelle con crema di gorgonzola, spinaci e noci

The word can also be used metaphorically to describe a bore who writes or talks at length, like pappardella, never finishing. ( Stava scrivendo una pappardella che non finiva più – She was writing a pappardella that was never-ending ). So without further ado, and in case I am accused of the latter, may I present my current all time favourite pasta dish, Pappardelle with Gorganzola cream sauce, spinach and walnuts. The key to the success of this dish is the quality of the pasta used. Either make home-made pasta, cutting it wider than tagliatelle, 13 mm to be precise, using this recipe, or use a good brand such de Cecco Pappardelle, which tastes soft and comforting, and as good as home made egg pasta.

pasta con gorgonzola, spinaci e noce.

Pappardelle con crema di Gorgonzola, spinaci e noce.

Recipe for 4 large serves.

  • 350 gr good quality pappardelle
  • 50 gr of unsalted butter
  • 225 g gorgonzola Dolce Latte or other creamy blue cheese.
  • 300 ml single cream
  • 225 g walnuts, chopped small
  • two or more handfuls of baby spinach leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

Bring the water to the boil for the pasta. Use a large saucepan; you need at least 4 litres of water for this quantity of pasta, with 1 level tablespoon salt added to it. Add the pasta and cook for the required time as suggested on the packet.

Meanwhile, place the walnuts in a non stick frying pan to toast. Watch that they don’t burn.

Over a low heat, melt the butter in a deep non stick frying pan. ( I tend to use a non stick wok for this type of cooking as the pasta will be added and tossed through the sauce later.) Then add the gorgonzola cheese, followed by the cream and leave to simmer very gently to reduce and become creamy and thick.

When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander, holding back half a cup of cooking liquid. Return the pasta to the wok or pan containing the gorgonzola sauce. Add the baby spinach leaves and freshly ground black pepper, toss everything over medium heat.  You may need to add a little cooking water if your sauce has become too thick. Add most of the nuts, reserving a few for garnishing.

Parmigiano cheese is optional and can be added to the sauce as it cooks. I prefer this dish without it.

Time to make pasta. ( Urbino, centro storico, Le Marche)

24 thoughts on “Weekend Pasta. Pappardelle with Creamy Gorgonzala, Spinach and Walnut.”

  1. Hi Francesca, this is a great combo. I have a very similar recipe on my blog. We make it regularly. Btw. Is your chocolate slice recip on your blog? I wanna make it.

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      1. We live in the heart of little Italy. Amazing availability of all things Italiano although it’s at a price. Really miss Med Wholesalers. My gut can tolerate a little wheat but sadly, not the amount in a bowl of pasta. I’m limited to gnocchi I reckon the GF varieties are a second rate compromise.

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  2. Oh yum, I love that kind of pasta ” ………spinaci e noce” just the beautiful sound of it makes you feel in your bones and entrails that that pasta is going to be so delicious, whereas, ……”with spinach and nuts” just doesn’t sound so lip smacking. Years ago I was in a Deli with an Italian friend and we were both there to buy prosciutto – I ordered mine, with my pomme accent and he ordered his with his Italian accent and I just shoulder-slumpingly knew that his prosciutto was going to taste so much better than mine:)

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    1. Maybe that’s why I blog, so I can indulge in Italian titles for food which sound so sensual. I once heard this guy rabbiting on about Ribollita, that famous Tuscan soup: he kept rolling out this re-boll- eeta word as if he were talking about the most exotic dish in the world. The word means reboiled but I didn’t want to spoil his fun and fantasy at the time. No one would be interested in a soup called re-boiled. Might do a post on that one day.
      Do you speak Italian Jan? If not, I think you a a prime candidate to learn, since you know how much better food tastes when said in italiano. xx

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