Paul and I spent our first new year’s eve together in Florence feasting on a seven course meal. The second course was a blue cheese and walnut ravioli that rocked Paul’s world. He talked about that ravioli for years so I had to come up with a version that would transport him back to Italy from our cosy kitchen on a rainy Tuesday night.
It might sound like a strange combination if you’ve never had nuts on your pasta before. But the earthiness of the walnuts, thyme and stilton are a very happy trio brought to life by the vibrancy of the lemon. It’s an easy meal to make using inexpensive ingredients and the nuts provide essential nutrients, so lots of wins. The final step in this dish is to pour maple syrup over the pasta which always makes me think of Will Ferrell in Elf eating spaghetti with marshmallows, lucky charms and maple syrup! This has a little less sugar than that recipe but pouring over maple syrup is still fun!
Serves 2 Adults
1 tbsp truffle or walnut oil (you can use olive oil)
handful of fresh thyme
1 tbsp maple syrup
- Bring your pasta water to the boil then salt it (pasta water should be like sea water to taste) and add the spaghetti. Heat the truffle oil on a medium high heat in a large frying pan. Add the chopped walnuts to the frying pan and cook until they start to brown and smell toasty.
- Once the walnuts are toasty lower the heat to medium and add 70g of the blue cheese.
- Pour 1 ladle of pasta water from the spaghetti pan over the blue cheese and walnuts and whisk until the cheese has melted into the sauce.
- Use a zester to grate the lemon rind onto a chopping board to use later then cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the pan and whisk.
- Drain the cooked spaghetti and add to the frying pan. Grind over black pepper and scatter over the thyme then toss the pasta to coat in the sauce.
- Dish up the pasta then sprinkle over the lemon zest, some more chopped thyme and crumble over the rest of the blue cheese (30g). Drizzle with the maple syrup and serve.