You cannot hide from the blue cheese in this pasta recipe, but of course why would you want to? If you aren’t a fan of the moldy blue cheeses as I am, maybe today is a day to try a lovely smoked cheddar macaroni and cheese instead. Otherwise, read on, uncork a bottle of a nice Cab and make yourself some delicious comfort food.
As this recipe is saturated with blue cheese, the other elements help to compose a more balanced dish, on both the palate and to the eye. The chili oil, squash and green onions are there to draw your eye away from the greyish coloured pasta and to cut the richness. You can make this dish a lower, more weeknight friendly effort by using a Sriracha or sambael oelek, and skipping the candying step.
Candied Kabocha and Blue Cheese Pasta Recipe(serves 4)
To Candy the Squash (*):
Steam the squash until just cooked through and put on a tea towel to dry and cool slightly. Once cooled for about 10 minutes, heat a large skillet to medium heat and add oil and then honey. Stir the honey with a wooden spoon to distribute and then add the squash tossing a few times. Allow the squash to crisp up on one side and then toss again. Remove from the heat and reserve.
To Make the Sauce:
Melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat. Sweat the onions in the butter until nice and soft. Add the flour and stir to combine with a wooden spoon or whisk. Cook, over medium low heat, stirring regularly for 3 minutes. Whisk in milk 1/2 cup at a time. Add bay leaf and bring to a simmer, stirring regularly cook for 10 minutes. Stir in blue cheese in a few batches. Taste, and add a big grind of fresh pepper and add salt if necessary.
Bringing it all Together:
Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Fold the sauce into the pasta and then fold in the squash. Pour into a baking dish and bake at 375F until just browning on the top – about 15 minutes. Serve hot, topped with green onions, drizzled with chili oil and serve extra on the side.
(*) If you aren’t feeling the fuss, just roast or steam the squash and toss it in. The texture and extra sweetness may be lost but it will still be delicious.