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
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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.