Pasta with gorgonzola sauce is rich, full of flavour and wonderful comfort food. It is super easy to prepare requiring few ingredients making it perfect for an easy weeknight dinner, date night or last minute get-togethers.
In a large skillet, melt the butter and saute mushrooms, sage and salt on medium low heat for around 10 minutes till softened (just a couple of minutes if using rehydrated porcini). Set aside, leaving the mushrooms in the pan.
200 grams chestnut, portobello or porcini mushrooms, 30 grams butter, ½ teaspoon salt
Fill ¾ of a large saucepan with water, add salt and bring to a rolling boil.
Add the pasta and cook to 1 minute less than the time indicated on the packet. Drain the pasta reserving 120 millilitres or ½ cup of the pasta water in a small bowl and set aside.
500 grams spaghetti
Replace the skillet containing mushrooms on a medium low heat and stir in the cream. As tiny bubbles begin to form, crumble in the gorgonzola then stir with a wooden spoon till the cheese has melted. Taste and add more seasoning if required.
Pour the pasta into the sauce and mix till the pasta is fully coated. Cook for another minute on a medium heat, stirring constantly, adding the pasta water. Remove from the heat and serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper.
120 millilitres reserved pasta water, 50 grams parmesan cheese, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Adding mushrooms is entirely optional and this step can be omitted. Use chestnut, portobello mushrooms or porcini for a stronger flavour.
If using dried porcini, place in a small bowl and fill with water till just covered, the soak for around 15 minutes.
The soaking liquid will be full of flavour and should be strained to remove any grit before using. You could add a couple of tablespoons of the liquid to the sauce for extra flavour, or reserve for another recipe.
Tips for boiling pasta
To boil spaghetti, ensure the pan is filled with enough water so the spaghetti cooks fully submerged. The pan needs to be large enough so boiling water can move around each piece of pasta. This way the pasta will cook uniformly not stick together.
Salt the water at the beginning, before it comes to a boil then stir so it becomes salted throughout.
Add the spaghetti in one go and don't worry if it protrudes from the top of the pot. As the spaghetti softens, stir with a wooden spoon so it becomes fully submerged and doesn't stick together.
Do not add oil as it will rise and float to top affecting the temperature of the water and cooking time.
There is no standard time for cooking pasta, as cooking times will vary depending on the shape and type of grain used. Cook the pasta one minute less than the time on the packet so that last minute can be used to cook the drained pasta with the sauce. Watch the clock as undercooked pasta will be raw inside and inedible, while overcooked pasta will be soft, starchy and sticky and won't taste good at all.
When draining the pasta water away, reserve a small amount (around 120 millilitres, or half a cup) of the starchy pasta water to mix into the sauce as it will help the sauce stick to the pasta ensuring it is fully coated and add creaminess.
Substitutions & variations
Spaghetti - any shape pasta will do, fresh or dry. Follow the cooking instructions on the packet, reducing boiling time by 1 minute, then cook pasta in the sauce for the remaining minute with a little pasta water.
Gorgonzola - use any similar mild flavoured blue cheese with a soft and creamy consistency such as Dolcelatte, St Agur blue cheese, Danish Blue or Roquefort.
Mushrooms - can be omitted entirely and the sauce will still taste delicious. Alternatively, use another vegetable such as wilted spinach, sauteed zucchini, cavolo nero or fennel.
The sauce can be made a few hours ahead and kept in a closed container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Bring to room temperature before using then stir into freshly made pasta adding a little pasta water so it mixes easily.
Store leftovers in a closed container and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours.