Penne with Spinach and Rosemary Gorgonzola Cream

If you look through my archives you might be tempted to conclude that everything I eat falls under one of two categories; salad or dessert. To be completely truthful, this is pretty darn accurate. I like salad and I like dessert. I eat a lot of salad in order to spare some extra calories for dessert (CHOCOLATE!!!!). But that doesn’t mean that I feel obligated to consume it (salad that is). A big reason why I enjoy it probably boils down to the fact that I think it tastes good – and I know how to make it taste good. If I didn’t like it, I would not eat it, plain and simple. I have said this time and time again but as humans, we don’t just eat to satisfy our caloric requirements. Eating is social and most importantly, it is pleasurable. What’s the point of eating something that doesn’t taste good?
Going back to the salad vs. dessert dichotomy, I do want to clarify that although they are important categories in my dietary repertoire, I do eat other things. Crazy right? My weeknight meals can be pretty boring. I have a few evening classes this semester and I am at work virtually every Thursday, which means eating supper on the go. More salads perhaps? I will mix a sandwich in every once in awhile too, don’t you worry.
But when I am at home, I am always the designated cook. This doesn’t mean 3 star meals on weeknights, that’s the last thing I want to do when I get home at 7pm. However I will make something from scratch that I can throw together in 30 minutes or less. That’s where pasta comes in. I will admit, in higher elevation locations like Calgary, it’s not the fastest cooking thing in the world, but if you time it right, you are golden. Get the pasta in the water ASAP, then you can make the sauce while it is cooking. They should both be finished around the same time, at which you can toss them together and serve. Don’t let me catch you pouring sauce over dry noodles, that’s almost as bad as running cooked pasta under cold water! Both would have my adaptive Italian Nona (whom I have yet to meet but it will happen one day) rolling over in her grave! Wait…how am I going to meet someone who is dead? Apparently I haven’t thought this through very well….
Penne with Spinach
Penne with Spinach
Penne with Spinach

Penne with Spinach and Rosemary Gorgonzola Cream
Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 – 3/4 pound penne pasta
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 cup gorgonzola cheese
4-5 cups fresh spinach (or a few generous handfuls, no need to get too exact)
salt and pepper, to taste
pasta water, as needed

Instructions

Bring a pot of water to a boil. When it’s boiling, add a big handful of salt, all properly seasoned pasta water should taste like the ocean. Add the penne and cook according to the package instructions, about 12 minutes. However, if you are cooking at a higher altitude like Calgary, it will probably end up taking more like 15 minutes, at least.

Meanwhile heat the cream and rosemary in a medium sauté pan. Bring it to a boil and turn it down to low heat, allowing the rosemary to infuse the cream for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the rosemary and add in the cheese, stirring to melt it all in. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add in the spinach and turn up the heat so that it wilts down into the sauce.

When the penne is cooked, even slightly under-done, add it to the sauce. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens and adheres to the pasta. If it gets too thick, add in a ladle or two of pasta water to thin it out. Serve with a couple cracks of fresh ground black pepper.

There you have it, an easy weeknight meal!

Substitutions

If you do not like rosemary, feel free to infuse the cream with other herbs like time or sage. Same goes for the gorgonzola, if you are not a fan of blue cheese, swap it out for parmesan or a nice aged cheddar.

Penne with Spinach
Penne with Spinach
Penne with Spinach

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