Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Pasta with Carmelized Pears and Gorgonzola #recipe

LESLIE: We love pasta, particularly when we come across a creative recipe that combines unexpected flavor. This is lightly adapted from the Washington Post, which says its based on a recipe in Simple, Elegant Pasta Dinners by Nikki Marie (Page Street Publishing, 2019). The spark and salt of the cheese is a great balance for the sweetness of the pears.

Seems to me that the Bosc pears in our grocery store are either quite small or quite large. Ours were good-sized, and four seemed like a lot, so I used three. Four would have been just fine. I did increase the amount of walnuts and broke the halves into bite-sized pieces.

The original recipe suggests goat cheese as a substitute for the gorgonzola, and I think it would be fine; a mild blue cheese would be nice, too.

This reheat nicely for lunch the next day. Spritz it a bit before reheating it in the microwave to keep it moist.

Perfect served with a green salad and a light Chardonnay or Italian white.

Pasta with Carmelized Pears and Gorgonzola

Kosher salt
12 ounces rigatoni
1/3 cup (1 ounce) walnut pieces, coarsely chopped or broken
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 Bosc pears, depending on size, peeled, cored and sliced thickly (roughly ½ inch)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
4 ounces (1 cup) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, plus more for serving
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

 Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water and add the pasta. Cook until not quite al dente, as you’ll be cooking it slightly in the sauce later. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat a large, deep skillet over medium. Toast the walnuts, shaking the pan regularly, until the nuts are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Immediately transfer them to a bowl or plate, so they don't burn.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the butter. When it melts, add the pears. Cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and tender but not mushy, about 7-10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or spatula to transfer the pears to a separate plate, leaving the liquid in the pan.

Add the broth to the skillet and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Add the Gorgonzola and bring to a simmer, stirring or whisking until the cheese melts and the sauce reduces slightly, about 5 minutes.

Add the pasta and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the skillet. Reduce heat to low and toss to coat pasta with sauce. Add the remaining pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed, to create a creamy sauce. Turn off the heat. Add the pears, walnuts, and cranberries, and season with black pepper. Garnish servings with a little additional Gorgonzola.

Serves 4-6


From the cover of CHAI ANOTHER DAY, Spice Shop Mystery #4 (Seventh St. Books): 

 Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece probes murder while juggling a troubled employee, her mother's house hunt, and a fisherman who's set his hook for her.

As owner of the Spice Shop in Seattle's famed Pike Place Market, Pepper Reece is always on the go. Between conjuring up new spice blends and serving iced spice tea to customers looking to beat the summer heat, she finally takes a break for a massage. But the Zen moment is shattered when she overhears an argument in her friend Aimee's vintage home decor shop that ends in murder. 

Wracked by guilt over her failure to intervene, Pepper investigates, only to discover a web of deadly connections that could ensnare a friend - and Pepper herself.

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story, and was nominated for a Macavity award; read it on her website. A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. This sounds creamy good. A nice combination of flavors and textures.

  2. Another author to add to my list.