Blue Cheese Bop: Pear and Pecan Mac and Cheese
There’s a lot more to Blue Cheese than Buffalo wing dipping sauce. So what if it smells like old gym shoes? Use blue cheese for your mac and cheese and it’ll taste fancy. This is a riff on the classic Italian combo of gorgonzola, walnuts,pears, pancetta, and pasta. That’s a good thing, but not the only thing. Try it my way. It’s potentially life altering.
4 oz. pecan halves, toasted in the oven at 350 for 10 minutes
12 oz. Rotini (any pasta will work)
1 shallot, diced
5 oz. Fakin’ Bacon (any vegetarian bacon works here), diced
3 pears, peeled and cut into slices. (Use firm pears here, you don’t want mush)
1 head radicchio, sliced
6 oz. Blue cheese, crumbled
1 ½ C reserved cooking water (feel free to sub milk for the water for a creamier sauce)
Salt and pepper
Fill a pot with salty water and bring it to a boil. Add the pasta and slightly undercook (2 minutes less than the box instructions). Reserve 2 cups of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and leave it in the strainer.
Using the same pot (you don’t have to use every pot in the house), coat the bottom with a little olive oil, turn the heat to medium, and saute the shallot with a pinch of salt for 3 minutes. Add the veggie bacon, and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the pears and radicchio with a little salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the blue cheese and the cooking water. Lower the heat, and stir it up until it melts down into a sauce that coats the back of the spoon. If you have to add more water here, do it; that’s why we reserved 2 cups.
Add the undercooked pasta, and finish cooking it in the sauce. Taste and season with salt and a lot of pepper.
Serve and top with the toasted pecans.