Gorgonzola Walnut Sauce with Lumache

Gorgonzola Walnut Sauce with Lumache

I first had this sauce many years ago in an Italian restaurant in Glebe. I remember writing (no email back then) and asking the chef for the recipe, but he ignored my request. He served it with the little shell-shaped pasta called conchiglie, but I’ve used ‘snail shells’, lumache; it works well with any pasta shape that has hollows for the nuts and creamy sauce to nestle into (and with gnocchi, see recipe video below). I like a slightly higher than usual alcohol match to cut through the richness of the sauce, an off-dry red vermouth like the one from Margan in the Hunter Valley works a treat! Turn any leftover lumache with Gorgonzola walnut sauce into a delicious pasta bake sprinkled with breadcrumbs and dotted with butter; and learn my top tips for cooking pasta perfectly here.

Serves 6 as a starter

Ingredients
  • 500g small shell-shaped pasta
  • ½ cup single cream
  • 200g Gorgonzola Dolce, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 100g shelled walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives
Method
  1. Boil pasta in plenty of salted water until just al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, warm cream in a saucepan over low heat.
  3. Add Gorgonzola and stir until melted.
  4. Stir in pepper and remove from heat.
  5. Drain cooked pasta.
  6. Add pasta to the cream mixture and return to a low heat.
  7. Add walnut and chives and toss together for a minute or so to combine well.
  8. Serve immediately.

Like this recipe? You’ll love A Month of Northern Italian Recipes+Videos!

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FAQ

Conchiglie, meaning sea shell, is the most common shell-shaped pasta. However there's also lumache (snail shells) and shell-shaped gnochetti Sardi or malloreddus, which is Sardinian pasta traditionally rolled by hand to create little shells.

The earthiness of walnuts seems to have a natural affinity for the sweet savouriness of Gorgonzola Dolce, especially in this classic pasta sauce.

I find something with a slightly higher alcohol content, like a vermouth, cuts through the richness of Gorgonzola well.