On our trip to Faribault, MN a couple of weeks ago we bought a bag of St. Pete’s blue cheese crumbles. We’ve been sprinkling it on fresh heirloom tomato slices, and I’ve been indulging in one of my favorite ways to eat blue cheese – melted into a pool for dipping slices of fresh pear or apple. But this pasta dish is one we haven’t made in a long time and it’s a delicious way to highlight some excellent blue cheese, especially paired with rye bread fresh from the oven for soaking up any leftover sauce on our plates.
You’ll need 4 medium-sized fresh tomatoes. Since they are just warmed in the sauce but not cooked, it’s worth the effort to get the best heirlooms you can find. Variety isn’t important, but flavor is. Pick juicy, ripe ones that you would eat by themselves, like the mantra that you should only cook with wine that you would drink.
Not a blue cheese fan? Leave it out. The sauce is wonderful without it. If the idea of using heavy cream is too much, try evaporated skimmed milk. It’s a good substitute I’ve used lots of times when there was no cream in the fridge or I wanted to lighten a recipe.
– Joan, 9 August 2019
Blue cheese pasta
- 4 bacon slices, cooked till crisp, chopped
- 1 small shallot, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1¼ cups heavy whipping cream
- 4 medium tomatoes, peeled or unpeeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced and cooked in reserved bacon grease
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Cook and chop bacon and set aside, leaving 2-3 tablespoons of grease in the pan. Reserve 2 more tablespoons of grease for cooking the shallot and garlic. Cook the sliced mushrooms in bacon grease until softened and any moisture has been released and cooked off, then set aside.
Start cooking 8-12 oz. of linguine or other pasta.
While the pasta boils, cook the shallot and garlic in bacon grease until just translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in parsley, basil, oregano, and whipping cream. Bring to a simmer and allow it to cook for a few minutes to thicken slightly. Add tomatoes, mushrooms, Parmesan and blue cheeses. Once the pasta has reached the al dente stage, drain it and immediately combine it with the sauce. Stir it all together and top servings with crumbled bacon and cilantro. Pass some crusty bread for mopping up every last bit of sauce.