Gorgonzola & Walnut Sauce with Lumache

Northern Italian Cheese - Gorgonzola & Walnut Sauce with Lumache (snail shell pasta) on blue plate

I first had this sauce many years ago in an Italian restaurant in Glebe. I remember writing a letter (no email back then) to the chef asking if he’d share the recipe, but he ignored my request. He served it with the little shell-shaped pasta called conchiglie, but I’ve used ‘snail shell’ lumache; it would work well with any pasta shape that has hollows for the nuts and creamy Gorgonzola sauce to nestle into. 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.

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FAQ

What is shell shaped pasta called?

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.

What flavours go well with Gorgonzola?

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

What's a good wine match for Gorgonzola?

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

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