Today was my day off so I decided to whip up a big meal complete with a loaf of crusty bread. Ok, if I'm honest I wanted a rich pasta dish as an excuse to eat a loaf of homemade crusty bread. If I'm going to help eat a loaf of bread I might as well throw in a pasta dish too, right? This pasta dish features an ingredient that, until a last week, I didn't know I liked. In fact, I was pretty sure I didn't like it.
Over the past six months my taste buds have been surprising me. Not only have I become besties with my former nemesis, Goat Cheese, but now I've found a new love. This new love is creamy, tangy, and has a strong flavour. It gets a bad rap for being a little mouldy and for some reason I don't just love it -- I LUUUURVE it! Yes, it's Blue Cheese! The first time I tried fresh blue cheese (waaaay back -- I'm talking last week) I had to talk myself out of thinking about what the blue veins were. Mind over matter, Laurie. You can do it. Don't worry about the mould. Man, was it good!
When I decided to make a pasta dish today I knew that I wanted a rosée sauce but needed to jazz it up a bit. So off to the store I went in seach of my new favourite cheese. I'm going to toot my own horn and say that this was a mighty fine dish! The smell of the bacon and blue cheese alone got me all excited (I live but a sheltered life).
I was excited about this dish but I had to play my cards right if I wanted a nice family meal where my spawn didn't revolt at the sound of blue cheese hitting their tongues. I was pretty sure that if 12 year old Cub saw the blue cheese container on the counter he'd send out the alert to his siblings that there was 'mould' in the pasta. After doing his Grade 2 science fair project on mould (and seeing what it can do to a piece of bread and a strawberry -- and how mould doesn't effect a Twinkie - ew!) he's not so eager to eat a cheese that prominently showcases it. I can understand Food Baggage. Parsnips and I are still at war with each other. But that's a whole other story. I digress ... so to bypass this issue I served the kids their pasta before adding in the blue cheese. Score one for Mom!
My ever escaping point is that this recipe is a definite keeper. Not only is it super easy and a great weeknight meal but it was really tasty. It's creamy with a slight smokiness from the bacon and the tanginess of the blue cheese. Divine!
1lb farfalle (bowtie) pasta
8 slices of bacon, diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cups small button mushrooms
3 tbsp cooking sherry
28oz can of tomato sauce
1 cup half-and-half creamer
2tbsp sour cream (mine were heaping)
3/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
To taste -- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Garnish -- fresh basil, blue cheese
In a large, deep skillet over medium heat sauté bacon until it begins to brown. Add onion and sauté until onion becomes soft. Add button mushrooms and continue to cook for 3 more minutes.
Drain the excess bacon grease from the skillet. Add the sherry to the skillet and deglaze the pan (this means scrape all of the brown bits off the bottom of the pan to keep those flavours in your sauce, not in your dirty dishwater!). Allow mixture to cook for 3 minutes.
Cook farfalle pasta according to package directions (mine took about 11 minutes).
Meanwhile, add spaghetti sauce to the skillet and simmer for 10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the half-and-half creamer, sour cream (I used full fat sour cream -- anything less than full fat is not, in my opinion, sour cream), blue cheese and salt and pepper. Gently mix until blue cheese has melted.
Drain pasta. If not using immediately, add a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil to stop the pasta from sticking to itself.
Spoon pasta onto plates and pour spoonfuls of sauce over top. This sauce is rich so a little goes a long way. Garnish with extra crumbles of blue cheese, fine strips of fresh basil or parsley. Serve with a green salad and fresh bread.
Linked to: Mom on Time Out's "Taking Time Out Thursday #5"