This Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Rigatoni is unapologetically indulgent and perfect for a rainy fall day. Serve with a side of lightly steamed or roasted broccoli.
It’s funny how our flavor palates change as we age. I remember ordering a blue cheese pasta (by accident) as a teenager in Italy, and was absolutely horrified when it arrived. I thought it was the grossest smelling thing ever. Now, I’m like “SEND IT THIS WAY! HOOK A GIRL UP!”
This is a hearty vegetarian meal but you can certainly add a little sweet Italian sausage into the mix. I’ve tried, it was amazing; kinda wish I never did it.
Blue Cheese and Hazelnut Rigatoni
- 1 small skillet
- 1 large pot
- 1 wooden spoon
- 1 strainer
- 1 large skillet
- 1 lb rigatoni may sub for pasta of choice
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ cup white onion or shallot; finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and minced
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup half + half or whole milk
- ¾ cup blue cheese crumbled; plus more for garnish
- 3 tbsp hazelnuts roughly chopped
- kosher salt to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan. Stir or shake the pan the entire to time ensure the hazelnuts don't burn, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool then roughly chop. Don't chop too too much because we want texture not dust.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add 2-3 tablespoons salt, stir, and return to a roaring boil before adding pasta. Cook rigatoni until just shy of al dente (read package instructions because it varies depending on brand). I use De Cecco and 9 minutes seems to be the ticket. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce.
- While pasta is cooking, warm extra-virgin olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted, add onions and a good pinch of kosher salt, stir until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Sprinkle onions and garlic with 1 tbsp of flour and stir to coat. Try to cook for at least a minute to burn off the flour taste.
- Pour in half and half and whisk until there are no more lumps. Add blue cheese and stir to incorporate into the sauce. Add a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
- Reserve at least ½ cup of starchy pasta water to thin out the sauce. Pour in hot rigatoni to the sauce and toss to coat, adding 1 tablespoon of pasta water at a time until you reach desired consistency.
- Stir in toasted chopped hazelnuts and toss to combine.
- Garnish with extra blue cheese, hazelnuts, and freshly ground black pepper. This was even better the next day with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.