Mezze maniche alla crema di spinaci e gorgonzola is a pasta dish that will not sound in the slightest bit familiar to you, or, for that matter, ring a bell for anyone else on this planet.
It was unknown even to me untillast month when, desperate to use up some ingredients before going away for a couple of weeks, I dreamed up – to my surprise – a pretty scrumptious sauce.
Get me, inventing my first pasta sauce! What better way than sharing my first very own recipe to mark my 70th blog post, after all? With countless family recipes still to be posted, I never thought I would get the chance to share one of my own impromptu creations.
That day I was just doing what I often do when the fridge needs to be emptied or some ingredients are about to expire: I make it up as I go along. This is what people must have done centuries ago when they unexpectedly created dishes that are now classics of the Italian repertoire. I’m not sure this dish will quite reach those heights… but you never know 😜.
We all make up dishes every now and then and play the role of recipe developers. The problem is that we never think that the dish we created is worth sharing with others.
That’s how I feel about many of the dishes I dream up on the spot. But not this one: mezze maniche alla crema di spinaci e gorgonzola is an “accident” that I had to share with you because it is absolutely yummy. And this comes from someone who is not big on spinach…
What? How is it possible not to like spinach? I guess that sometimes things just don’t work. I lost count of the number of spinach dishes my mum tried to feed me to ensure I would absorb all the important nutrients it contains: spinach frittata; spinach cooked in a frying pan together with mozzarella; spinach sautéed with oil and garlic and covered in lemon juice… the list goes on.
But no; no matter how hard she tried, she could not get that strange metallic taste to agree with me. Of course, being a mother, she would not give up. Her favourite trick was to put on “Popeye” – which I absolutely loved – and say: ” Look how strong you can become if I you eat all the spinach on your plate.”
So imagine my surprise when I tasted this sauce and thought: “Damn you spinach, you can be good after all!” Obviously the little cream and discreet amount of gorgonzola play a big role in camouflaging its retro taste. But the result is great: now I can include spinach in my diet in a way that doesn’t leave me with a strange grimace on my face!
Perhaps now you’ll understand why I am so excited to share this recipe with you. I know you will really enjoy it.
It’s super easy to prepare and ready in under 5 minutes – think of pasta con crema di peperoni but much quicker. It is great to make when you are tired but feeling hungry and craving pasta, but want something other than the usual pasta with tomato sauce: something quirky and a bit different. Something with character.
If you ever feel this way, this is the perfect recipe for you. And you will see… after a bowl of mezze maniche alla crema di spinaci e gorgonzola you will be way stronger than Popeye!💪
Let’s go and make this pasta dish together 🙂
Serves 2 (hungry people)
- 300g mezze maniche (or any other short pasta, eg penne, fusilli, rigatoni)
- 500g fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- a pinch of salt
- 50ml single cream
- 80-100g gorgonzola, cut into small chunks (a bit less or more, depending on how prominent you want it to be)
- 5-6 walnuts, peeled and chopped roughly
- Salt for boiling water
- Grated parmesan to sprinkle on individual portions (to taste)
To steam the spinach
If you are confident with this stage, skip this part and go directly to “To make the sauce“.
Wash the spinach thoroughly with cold water. Remove any tough stems. Set aside.
Fill a saucepan about half full with boiling water. Place it on the hob and turn the heat on high, allowing the water to simmer.
Cover the saucepan with the steamer pan/dish (I use one from Le Creuset that can be used with sizes of pan).
Add the spinach and cover with a lid. Keep the water simmering on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, or until the spinach becomes tender and starts to collapse.
Remove the spinach from the heat as soon as it starts to wilt. If you wait too long, the spinach will absorb all the moisture from the steam and become soggy.
Move the spinach to a strainer to remove any excess water.
Transfer the spinach to a food whizzer/chopper and add the oil and the salt. Whizz until you obtain a smooth cream. Add the single cream and whizz again briefly to incorporate it well with the spinach.
Transfer the creamy spinach to a saucepan, add the gorgonzola and cook gently on low heat until the cheese is completely melted and incorporated with the spinach. Cover with a lid and set aside.
Cooking the pasta
In a large saucepan add more than 2 litres of water. (Pasta needs plenty of water to cook properly.) Bring to the boil. Add some salt (to your taste, but traditionally Italians add a fair amount of salt. We like our pasta to be on the salty side. Start with a little salt and then taste the pasta while it is cooking. Add more if required).
Add the pasta to the pan when the water is boiling, stir and cook al dente. (follow the instructions on the packet for the cooking time)
Drain the pasta in a colander and transfer back to the sauce pan.
To season the pasta
Pour the majority of the sauce over the pasta and mix well to coat it all.
Sprinkle some parmesan. Transfer to each plate. Add some more left over sauce and sprinkle the walnuts. All ready to go!
The taste is amazing and you will be even more delighted as it was so quick and easy to make it!
Mezze maniche alla crema di spinaci e gorgonzola is a dish to make often, especially for those who love spinach bust most importantly for the people who don’t like it! 😛