Penne with Asparagus and Mushrooms in a Cambozola Sauce

Penne with Asparagus and Mushrooms in a Cambozola Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2/3 lb. penne pasta
  • 1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and ends snapped off
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 5 oz. cambozola cheese, rind removed and cut into small chunks (If you haven’t tried this yet, you should – it’s a mixture of creamy camembert cheese, which is like brie, and gorgonzola, which is the mildest form of blue cheese. The result is a creamy, yummy cheese with a mild hit of blue cheese flavor.)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • splash of red wine (you can also use white wine if you prefer – I just think red wine plays well with cambozola)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup milk (skim is definitely fine since you’re mixing in a bunch of cheese)
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare mushrooms – heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mushrooms and sauté until golden and liquid is evaporated. To finish, add splash of wine and cook until nearly, but not fully, evaporated. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Boil and salt water for pasta and asparagus.
  3. Meanwhile, cut asparagus into one inch pieces on an angle, to mimic the shape of the penne. Set aside.
  4. Add pasta to boiling water and begin cooking. When pasta has 2 minutes of cooking time remaining, add the asparagus. Before draining, reserve a cup or so of the cooking water. If pasta and asparagus finish cooking before the sauce is done, toss in strainer with a small drizzle of oil and cover with a towel.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare sauce. Melt the butter over medium heat, then sprinkle the flour over it. Whisk vigorously to cook the roux for one minute, until the color of peanut butter. Increase the heat to medium-high, then slowly add the milk in small batches, whisking vigorously the whole time to prevent lumps. Cook this sauce–whisking constantly–until it’s just starting to boil and thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat (this is very important) and gently fold in the cambozola in small batches until it’s completely incorporated. Next, add half of the parmesan cheese using the same method (a silicone spatula works well for the folding-in). Season with salt and pepper. Finally, stir in the mushrooms.
  6. Return pan to a burner over very low heat, add the pasta and asparagus to the sauce and stir gently to coat, adding pasta water as needed to thin to desired consistency.
  7. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan and serve!

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