I love my fabulous friend M. for many reasons – she’s a sweet, smart, funny psychoanalyst, she was always the Most Elegant of the Moms at the playground, and she is definitely one of the best cooks I know. She also manages to keep up a strict Pilates regime without being obnoxious about it. I admire her a great deal, as you can probably tell. The other day, when I got to her house with my hungry brood, I was surprised to learn that „H. will be cooking today“. Now I knew many things about her husband before – he’s a also a great therapist, a sweet, smart, funny guy, and a dedicated Rock’n’Roll free spirit … but I had never had the pleasure to eat anything he made before.
The dish (Tagliatelle with cream of Gorgonzola and mushroom sauce) sounded – well, a bit random. But you know what? It was everything any of those ingredients will ever need to be. Whether he came up with it on a day there was nothing else left in the fridge, or whether he found it in a cookbook, I can’t tell you. All I can say is I had 2 1/2 helpings – OK, I had skipped lunch, but still – I _never_ have more than 1 plate of pasta, because carbs!!! So, exceptional: All the flavors in that sauce blend together in creamy, rich, savory, velvety bliss. Lovely on a cold day!
After dinner, I had H. explain to me precisely how he did it, so I’d be able to pass it on to whoever might find themselves in need of a happy, restoring dish – albeit a bit heavy on the carbs. Don’t worry, I’m adding a light wintry salad recipe – and however much you end up eating of either, is obviously entirely up to you ;-).
Sauce first. For 4 reasonable helpings of
Cream of Gorgonzola and Mushroom Sauce
you will need:
2 shallots, finely chopped
250 g Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
125 g Gorgonzola cheese (more to taste, but no less)
250 – 300 ml whipping cream
1 TBSP flour
Salt & pepper to taste
Twig of fresh thyme if you have it
First, you heat a dash of good olive oil in a large, Teflon-coated skillet. Add shallots and after a minute, flour, to make a roux. Stir for a minute. Do not let the onions brown – it’ll taste completely different if you do, and you want both the flavors of the mushrooms and the cheese to be dominant, with the shallots being no more than a solid basis. Pour on the cream and stir, add mushrooms and bring to a soft boil for a few minutes. Finally add the cheese and let melt in the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste, even a pinch of sugar may be in order. You can let a twig or two of thyme steep in the sauce for a few minutes – but that’s optional. If you feel intimidated by the fat ratio, substitute some of the cream with milk. You’ve got your roux to thicken the sauce, so no worries about consistency, and it won’t affect the taste.
Boil pasta and serve.
If you’ve read any of the other recipes I posted before, you already know that I’m a Cilantro person. I like to use it in many dishes, Asian as well as European, Arabic or Mexican. It always adds a certain unexpected zing to the food, and it’s supposed to be really healthy, so win-win. I’m calling this one:
Mâche Salad with Orange Fillets, Roasted Pine Nuts & Cilantro
For 4 helpings, you will need:
4 large handfuls of mâche salad
1 small shallot or 1 green onion, finely sliced
1 handful of cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 large oranges, filleted (Don’t know how to do that? Here’s a great tutorial from YouTube – be warned, it has a very, um, distinct Banjo background music 😉
2 TBSP roasted pine nuts
4-5 TBSP premium quality olive oil
2 TBSP white balsamic vinegar (or any other type you like, this one’s just my personal favorite)
1/2 TSP salt, pinch of sugar, freshly ground black pepper to taste
Mix your ingredients (minus dressing) in a large bowl. In a screw-top jar, combine dressing ingredients. Shake well. Try that dressing before you pour it on – who knows how much salt you like to put on your food? Might be way more than I like, or less – and that goes for all the condiments, of course. But you knew that, right?
So, that’s a very nice meal for a cold winter day right there. Enjoy :-)!