While I should be used to winter weather, being Austrian and all, I had a hard time convincing myself that it was a good idea to leave the house today. I can get quite excited about snow, especially waking up to a winter wonderland where life as we know it has ground to a halt and everything is incredibly still, quiet, subdued - but what we had today was an entirely different story. It was like the heavens couldn't decide whether to snow or rain and the few flakes we got were just wet and slushy and very short-lived indeed. And while the air is usually quite dry when it snows, today you had moisture creeping everywhere, into the deepest, darkest crevices of your body... so you can probably see why I didn't jump for joy!
There was no way I was leaving the house again after the school run and with a weekend just behind us, there wasn't an awful lot of food in the fridge... left-overs pasta would have to do. A rich, creamy sauce with walnuts and spinach was my best bet - I used a single malt whisky from Wales (don't tell my husband) which added a wonderfully smoky note, if my husband didn't have such expensive tastes when it comes to single malts, I would use them more often in cooking! Be creative when you cook this, use your intuition as to how much of the cheese to use especially - gorgonzola varies so much in taste and intensity, so adjust down or up depending on what yours is like. And you could probably skip toasting the walnuts, but it makes their flavour so much more mellow, takes the bitterness away a little and is therefore definitely worth the five minutes.
Winter pasta with gorgonzola, walnuts, spinach and single malt
100 g walnuts
1 tsp ghee (or butter)
1 clove garlic (crushed)
100 ml whisky (preferrably single malt)
150 g gorgonzola piccante
200 ml double cream
140 g spinach
white pepper, salt & nutmeg to taste
400 g spaghetti
Toast the walnuts in a dry pan until browning and fragrant. Chop and set aside.
Melt the ghee (butter) in a pot, fry the garlic in it until just starting to colour. Deglaze with the whisky, leave to bubble for about 1 minute. Cut the gorgonzola into small cubes, add to the pot together with the cream and leave to cook over medium heat until you have a smooth sauce - constant stirring is required. Season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in salt water to packet instructions. Drain.
Stir the sauce into the spaghetti, fold in the spinach and walnuts and serve immediately.