Alright everyone! I’m back in America and fully back in the swing of things when it comes to the kitchen. I got the stomach flu while I was in Taiwan, and lost a ton of weight, so I’m carb-ing up in earnest over here. That means you can expect a lot of pasta in the near future. This one is similar to my last post, yet so different at the same time.
The blue cheese works with the hazelnuts so well in this dish, and the roasted grapes are like little sweet jewels, but nothing is overpowering because the rosemary lends this really subtle floral note to the whole thing. Even the shape of the pasta helps to balance the flavors because it is so thick that you can actually taste the egg, which gives the whole thing a nice kind of smooth and neutral undertone, and the nuts give a super satisfying crunch to contrast the chewiness of the pasta. As a meal, it really sticks to your bones. It’s warming and rich, and perfect for a rainy day. Autumn here we come!
Butter Count: Blue cheese sauce
1 batch pasta dough
1/3 cups heavy cream
5.5 oz blue cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup toasted hazeluts
~30 red grapes
~2 sprigs Fresh rosemary, leaves removed
Cut the dough into 8 pieces. Remove one piece and cut it into 1-cm slices. Keep the rest of the chunks wrapped in plastic wrap.
Roll each slice into thin ropes. Fold the ropes in half and twist them around themselves, pinching each end to seal the twist. Loop each end to the center of the twisted rope so that it looks like an “8”, and press down with the end of a chopstick or some other small and blunt stick. Flip it over and press the other side of the center as well to make sure it’s sealed.
NOTE: I find that it is easier to loop the ends to the center in the direction of the twist, so one end will end up being looped up, the other down. This will make sense after your first or second shaping.
Place the sealed “8” ropes on a baking sheet in a single layer, cover, and freeze at least 2 hours. Repeat with the rest of the chunks, making sure to keep the chunks which are not being used wrapped in plastic wrap so that they don’t dry out.
When you are halfway through shaping the pasta, preheat the oven to 350F. Slice the grapes in half and place them cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes, until the grape skin starts to wrinkle and separate. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while the rest of the pasta is shaped and frozen.
When all of the pasta is shaped and frozen for 2 hours, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a splash of olive oil and a big pinch of salt.
Add the pasta all at once and cook about 8 minutes until all pasta is floating.
While the pasta is boiling, make the blue cheese sauce. Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Bring the cream to a light boil in a small sauce pan. Remove from heat and add the blue cheese, whisking until smooth. Pour the sauce through a the sieve, pressing the liquid through it and into a bowl using a rubber spatula. Use the rubber spatula to scrape out all of the sauce into a big sauce pan (big enough to fit the pasta as well). Return the fonduta to stove over as low a heat as possible to keep warm.
When the pasta is almost cooked, use a slotted spoon to transfer it into the pan with the sauce in it along with some of the pasta water. Increase the heat to medium to bring to a low simmer and cook about 3 more minutes until the pasta is fully cooked.
Stir in the roasted hazelnuts and roasted grapes. Add the fresh rosemary to taste (I like a lot but not everyone does).
Transfer to plates immediately, add a crack of black pepper to each, and serve warm.
NOTE: the cheese sauce will seize up if left at room temperature too long, but it will still taste good!