5 Ingredients or Fewer

A Cure for the Blues Pasta

March 18, 2015
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

This recipe came from The Savory Way by Deborah Madison and by now is as comfortable as an old shoe. The clever trick is floating a stainless steel
bowl in the pasta cooking water and melting the cheese in the bowl. It somehow makes the whole process seem easier because the whole dish is made on one burner! Infinitely malleable, amazingly simple, the ingredients can be substituted to use different cheeses, fats, herbs and even vegetables (I have stirred in a package of frozen peas, cooked). Good for when I had a toddler and infant and needed a fast supper and good for when I come home from work and feel too tired to cook. —luvcookbooks

Test Kitchen Notes

Oh hello, favorite new weeknight six-ingredient pasta dinner. Thinned with a bit of pasta water, that melted cheese becomes a not only sufficient but delicious sauce, all on its own! And when you mix in buttery walnuts and a handful of parsley and you've got a complete dinner. We'd like to try this with Brie, too.

Tip: If your pot threatens to overflow, turn down the heat. —The Editors

  • Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients
  • Salt
  • 1 pound pasta that the sauce will cling to; I use farfalle and orechiette
  • 8 ounces Gorgonzola or other soft cheese, like Brie
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 handful coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 handful parsley, only the soft leaves, chopped
  • 6 chives, chopped
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a big pot, bring salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta. Float a stainless steel bowl in the water and melt the cheese in the stainless steel bowl while the water heats and the pasta cooks. [Editors' note: If your water overflows, turn down the heat.]
  2. Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the walnuts briefly with a pinch of salt, until they start to smell toasty.
  3. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the pasta water. Thin the melted cheese a little with the pasta water. Three tablespoons is probably enough. It will be like a thin cream soup. Mix the pasta with the melted cheese, then add herbs and walnuts and lots of black pepper.
  4. I like to serve grated Parmesan on the side and have a glass of wine. Enjoy!

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