I have already discussed my revelation regarding cheese in a previous entry to this blog but, if any recipe represents the joyful embrace of cheese as a Good Thing, it’s this one.
I discovered, when digging out my old copy of Real Fast Food, that the book fell open rather readily on this page, and remembered quite how many times I made this pasta when I first bought the book in my late teens. The simplicity of the thing, the amount of butter and the huge slab of cheese involved made it seem hugely indulgent and luxurious though, as I shopped for the ingredients this time, it occurred to me that, compared to meat-based meals, it’s actually a relatively frugal dinner; a wedge of Gorgonzola for around 25:- (just under £2 at the time of writing) a 50 gram slice of butter (a measurement which, pleasingly, I’ve learned to judge by eye to within a gram or so) and half a bag of pasta. Along with a salad, it fed the two of us and a toddler amply and can’t have cost a whole lot more than £3 to throw together.
So attached was I to this recipe, I remember nipping into delis on the way to friends’ houses to grab a block of blue cheese (Gorgonzola, Dolcelatte or, my favourite for this, Stilton, preferably Colston Bassett, from the counter of Neal’s Yard Dairy) from a Deli so we could make up a batch of pasta and eat it in the garden with a couple of beers. Anything that convinces a teenage boy that it’s worth making with his friends must be easy and must be delicious, so I think that speaks for itself.
First, I put a pan of water on the hob and, whilst I was waiting for it to come to the boil, mashed a very generous chunk (around 370g in the case of the piece I had) of Gorgonzola with 50g of room-temperature butter in a separate pan. Sat there in front of you, it looks like an enormous amount of cheese, but bold, cholesterol-ignoring confidence is the order of the day here, so press on. I mashed those together into a uniform-ish paste with a fork and put some pasta on to boil, which gave me another eight or so minutes to put together and dress a salad. Once the pasta was done, I drained it and, still steaming hot, mixed it together with the Gorgonzola butter, creating a creamy and unctuous sauce which coated the pasta (fusilli in this case) beautifully all over.
The end result, drizzled with a little of the good olive oil, eaten with something green and washed down with a glass of wine, is a surprisingly light affair, considering the ingredients. On its own, it might feel a little samey, but coupled with a few of the right, very simple accompaniments, it really sings and is ideal for the after-work cook, taking as it does around the time it takes to cook a pan of pasta.
Buy your own copy of Nigel Slater’s ‘Real Fast Food’ HERE.