Penne with Greens, Two Cheeses and Walnuts

This is a Ray McVinnie recipe (I have amended the quantities slightly).  He is a regular contributor to the New Zealand magazine Cuisine (he is also a judge on the NZ Masterchef). This recipe appeared in the March 2007 issue of Cuisine magazine (Issue 121).   Cuisine magazine has all the recipes from its magazines online (here is the link to their great site) and have a facility where you can list the ingredients you have in your pantry and it will bring up recipes in its magazine with those ingredients.

One day, Maus typed in a number of ingredients we had languishing in the fridge.  We can’t remember exactly what but I can imagine having left over cream and blue cheese, and even rocket, from a dinner party.  She is guessing a gift of silverbeet from our neighbour, Renate.  Anyway, up popped this recipe.  We have been making it ever since.  Ray McVinnie advises it is based on a traditional recipe from the Piemonte (Piedmont) region in Italy.

It is a fantastic recipe for the owner of a vegie patch because silverbeet (or rainbow chard) and rocket grow very easily in Perth.  Home gardeners always seem to be trying to find ways to use them up. Here is the perfect solution.

  • 6 rainbow chard or silverbeet leaves, sliced crossways
  • 2 handfuls of rocket leaves
  • 250g penne
  • peel of ½ preserved lemon, finely chopped (Remove the pulp from the preserved lemon and discard.  Rinse the peel under cold water then chop.)
  • 150g of blue cheese (I use Blue Castello), chopped into cubes
  • 300ml cream
  • ½ cup walnut pieces
  • salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, to serve
  1. Boil silverbeet (or rainbow chard) in boiling water for 4 minutes.  Add the rocket, bring back to the boil and then remove from heat.  Rinse under cold water and drain.  Squeeze out excess fluid and put aside.
  2. Cook pasta in a large pot and drain.  Return drained pasta to the pot.
  3. Add the greens and stir to distribute evenly through the pasta.
  4. Add all other ingredients, except Parmesan cheese.
  5. Return the pot to a gentle heat.  Stir  until cheese has melted and cream is on the verge of boiling (do not boil). Remove from the heat.
  6. Serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top (or in our case, Grana Padano spooned on top).

Serves 3-4.

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