Straw & Hay with Gorgonzola is a pasta dish from Ina Garten’s cookbook Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. This northern Italian dish called Paglia e Fieno is usually made with two pastas, egg and spinach pastas, to resemble straw and hay. This pasta dish is salty, sweet, creamy and the sauce is bold and velvety rich! I love the ingredients – prosciutto, sweet peas, sweet basil, creamy Gorgonzola cheese and Parmesan cheese. This pasta is simple and foolproof to make yet it’s absolutely delicious. I love to enjoy this with a glass of Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio. This is certainly a treat and it makes for a simple and lovely meal.
When you only cook with a few ingredients, it’s important to buy good, quality ingredients because they will stand out. Buy a block of cheese whenever you can and grate it yourself. Freshly grated cheese melts better, it’s creamier and you can taste the freshness compared to a pre-grated off the shelf product. Don’t get me wrong, those have a place in your pantry or fridge too, just not in this dish. The pasta is also important. If you don’t make your own pasta, try to source fresh from your local restaurant, specialty store or purchase a quality dry pasta online. Ina used Cipriani dried pasta and I purchased Colavita at my local Italian grocery store.
Start by filling a pot with water, add salt and oil and bring to a boil. As the water comes to a boil, make the sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a wide sauté pan and cook the prosciutto for 5 minutes until crispy. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and onion to the sauté pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the cream, Gorgonzola cheese, salt, pepper and bring the sauce to a strong simmer, stirring frequently so the cheese melts and doesn’t burn. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened. Turn off the heat.
Just look at these beautiful tagliatelle nests! These nests cooked up in no time and had that fresh pasta taste! This was a very good choice. If you can’t find tagliatelle, fettuccine works great too.
While the pasta finished cooking, add basil, prosciutto and frozen peas to the sauce. The peas cook up in no time and even Ina adds frozen peas to many of her dishes. If you over cook peas, they end up like mush and lose their shape. Peas should be cooked but a little firm so you get that delightful burst of sweetness. Add the pasta to the sauté pan and toss to combine over low-medium heat.
Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese and tossed everything together. Taste for seasoning and serve hot with extra Parmesan and basil.
I made this recipe as party of the #rainydaybitescookbookclub. It was so much fun! I followed the recipe and only reduced the salt by 1/2 teaspoon since the prosciutto and cheeses are salty. I didn’t need to reseason. My family loved this dish and we didn’t have any leftovers. My Any Day Pasta is very similar to Straw & Hay with slight variations and made with substitutes commonly found in your refrigerator and pantry.
Straw & Hay with Gorgonzola (Paglia e Fieno)
This is a rich and creamy pasta dish that's well balanced with prosciutto and peas and basil. The contrast of salty and sweet with the creamy Gorgonzola cheese sauce is just perfection. This dish is elegant for company and easy for a family week night meal.
Gorgonzola Sauce with Prosciutto, Peas & Parmesan
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 4 ounces prosciutto, cut crosswise in 1/2 inch thick matchsticks, or diced
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped about 1 large onion
- 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced about 3 regular sized garlic cloves
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 4 ounces Gorgonzola dolce cheese, crumbled see recipe notes below
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt prefer Diamond brand
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 cups frozen peas allow to come thaw as you make the sauce
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for garnish
Cooking the Pasta
- 8-10 ounces Tagliatelle pasta or fettuccine
- water to fill a large pot
- 1 Tablespoon kosher salt prefer Diamond brand
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and olive oil and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Add the prosciutto and cook for 5 minutes until crispy. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the chopped onion to the sauté pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Add the cream, Gorgonzola cheese, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper and bring the sauce to a boil. Lower the heat and gently simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Turn off the heat.
When the sauce is almost done, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta, allowing some of the pasta water to remain.
Add the peas, prosciutto, basil and pasta to the sauce and toss to coat the pasta well. If the pasta seems a little dry, add a little reserved pasta water. Add Parmesan cheese and toss well. Taste for seasoning and serve hot with extra Parmesan and fresh basil.
Italian Gorgonzola cheese comes in two types: Dolce and Mountain – dolce is light and creamy while mountain is piquant and crumbly.
This recipe in from Ina Garten’s cookbook Foolproof.