Being that Dan travels Monday through Thursday every week, our weekends together are a time to be cherished and celebrated. Thus, I sit down for an hour or so on Thursdays to plan out the meals I make for us each weekend. The process of planning meals is usually more difficult and time-consuming for me than cooking them. With thousands upon thousands of recipes to browse, I often find myself overwhelmed by the options. One minute I'm set on a simple, veg-tastic salad and the next minute I'm drooling over a labor-intensive homemade pasta dish. I guess you could say that I have recipe-induced attention deficits.
With so many delicious options to choose from, I rely on the rule of RIPOR: Reviews, Ingredients, Pictures, Originality, and Ratings,. I often begin by searching for ingredients that I am craving (e.g. tomatoes, pasta, mushrooms, etc). Once my search has retrieved a slew of options, I weed through them by checking out the ratings and pictures. It's so important to see what the final outcome of a recipe looks like because food should be beautiful as well as delicious. Once I've narrowed down my options, I examine the reviews. Reviews are also useful for the actual process of cooking, because contributors often notate important changes or adaptations that they've made to improve upon the recipe. Lastly, I read through each recipe in search of originality. I like dishes that have a unique flavor combination and bring something new to the table (pun intended).
I've just gone completely off on a tangent, but my point in doing so is to introduce a recipe that endured the rigorous RIPOR recipe search criteria and won: Linguine with Gorgonzola, Fingerling Potatoes, Green Beans, and Sage. I made this dish for Dan and I a couple of weekends ago and it was definitely a crowd pleaser; that is, if you consider two a crowd. This dish is incredibly simple to make and packs an abundant amount of flavor. The sage enhances the creamy savoriness of the Gorgonzola and the two work together to coat the potatoes, green beans, and linguine in a sauce that is simultaneously decadent and delicate. This dish will please both omnivores and vegetarians and is a great alternative to the always welcomed coupling of spaghetti and marinara. I paired it with a 2007 Red Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State and was pleasantly surprised by the way the wine enhanced the richness of the sage and Gorgonzola.
Linguine w/ Gorgonzola, Fingerling Potatoes, Green Beans, and Sage (Serves 4 to 6)
Adapted from Sunset
1 small bag fingerling potatoes
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 lb linguine
10 oz french green beans, ends trimmed
6 sage leaves, chopped
6 oz fresh Gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoon butter
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Halve each of the fingerling potatoes and place in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with 2 quarts of water, cover, and bring to a boil. Add salt and linguine to pot, stir, cover, and return to a vigorous boil. Add green beans, cover, and bring back to a boil. Uncover and cook until linguine is al dente (approximately 5 minutes).
2. While pasta and vegetables cook, mash cheese, butter, sage, and pepper in a large bowl. Set aside.
3. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water and set aside. Strain linguine and vegetables. Pour pasta mixture over Gorgonzola mixture. Toss to combine until cheese melts and coats the linguine and vegetables. If sauce is too thick, slowly add in the pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until sauce reaches desired thickness. Serve and enjoy!