~ My Creamy Dreamy Gorgonzola Sauce for Pasta ~
As a gal who grew up in the latter '50's, '60's and early '70's, my family didn't venture into trying the worlds vast varieties of artisanal cheeses. We stuck with what we knew, which, like the rest of suburban, middle America, was limited to the selection in the dairy case of our one or two local grocery stores. When it came to slicing or grating, if it wasn't white American, it was yellow cheddar or marbled Colby. We ate mozzarella, but it was the aged low-moisture kind, and as for Parmesan, there was little need for that in an Eastern European family, but, there was always a container of cottage cheese in the the refrigerator, along with a silver box of cream cheese too!
As for cheese sauces, thankfully I did not grow up in the era of uber-fake "cheese-feed" products. You know the ones I mean: thick, bottled Olive Garden-type knockoffs that bear no resemblance to delicate real-deal Alfredo sauce for pasta, and, gloppy jarred Cheez-Whiz-type concoctions that get poured over vegetables and nachos. Besides the calories (and who knows what else), I feel lucky that I grew up in a family during a period in history when what cheeses we did eat, all of them American or Americanized, were real. We hand-sliced and grated our own too (they didn't come out of a bag that way). The only cheese sauce my mother ever made was for macaroni and cheese and it did not emerge out of a packet from a box of K-R-A-F-T!
When it came to soft cheeses like Brie, I tried them after I left "the nest". It was the same for soft or semi-soft blue-veined cheeses too. Happily, by the end of the 1970's and '80's, magazines like Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and Gourmet had me as well-educated as a gal in her twenties and thirties could be on the subject of "fancy schmancy" cheese. The first blue-veined cheese I fell in love with was Gorgonzola dolce. It was served at a coctail party as an appetizer on pear slices with walnuts crumbed on top. I never looked back. It was:
My Blue Heaven!
A bit about gorgonzola cheese (gohr-gan-DZOH-lah): Named for a town outside of Milan, Gorgonzola is one of the world's oldest, blue-veined cheeses. Made primarily in the Piedmont and Lombardy regions of Italy, this unskimmed cow's milk cheese has a crumbly yet soft texture and a nutty aroma. It is usually aged for 2-6 months, and its slightly sharp taste gets sharper with age (after 6 months it's strong).
My favorite is Gorganzole dolce (sometimes referred to as Sweet Gorganzola). It is rich, creamy, mildly-sharp, slightly sweet, and, a bit salty. A delightful combination -- and perfectly suited for melting into a creamy, slightly-tangy cheese sauce for pasta or vegetables!
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Note: You'll have 2 cups of sauce. Reheat gently on stovetop or in microwave, adding a bit of cream, to thin to desired consistency. Toss warm sauce with:
1-pound fork-friendly cooked & drained pasta, penne is a perfect choice
or, for a pasta & veggie dish, add:
A homemade, well-made cheese sauce is not evil...
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; 1-quart saucepan w/lid; spoon or small whisk; large spoon; 8-quart stockpot; colander
Cook's Note: To get ~ My Basic Cheddar Cheese Sauce Recipe for Vegetables ~, which everyone just loves drizzled over steamed broccoli or cauliflower, just click into Categories 4, 8, 14, 17, or 20. It's also great on nachos or burgers. Never buy that bottled glop again!
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)