Cheese/ Hearty Dinners/ Pasta

Gorgonzola Pasta with Leek, Pancetta & Mushrooms

April 1, 2020 by Chris Collins

Penne pasta drenched in a creamy gorgonzola sauce with pancetta, mushrooms and leek. Creamy pasta recipes don’t come more delicious than this!

overhead shot of pasta in white bowl with two forks resting on it

Gorgonzola Pasta

The moment someone asks me what my favourite cheese is, the word ‘gorgonzola’ flies out of my mouth before they’ve even finished speaking. I LOVE GORGONZOLA. Ridiculous amounts… Also, who doesn’t love pasta? You see where I’m going with this 🤣

Gorgonzola makes the perfect pasta sauce for a couple of different reasons:

  • Its got a smooth and creamy texture which melts into the sauce perfectly!
  • It’s fairly mild in comparison to other blue cheeses, so isn’t too overpowering.

Can I use other blue cheeses for this recipe?

Gorgonzola does make the most sense in this recipe for the above reasons, but you can sub other blue cheeses. However, I recommend starting off with half the amount and working up (so it doesn’t end up too strong). I also recommend finding a blue cheese with a creamier texture as opposed to a crumbly texture, just so it marries into the sauce better.

closeup shot of pasta in skillet with wooden spoon blurred in background

Leek, Pancetta and Mushrooms

Sure, blue cheese pasta is great, but let’s add a few more goodies in just for good measure.

Pancetta

Pancetta adds a nice salty flavour to the sauce and works perfectly with gorgonzola. It also adds a nice crispy texture to break up the creaminess of the sauce. For this recipe you can sub bacon.

Leek

Such an under-used veg (guilty of this!) goes gorgeously with blue cheese, pancetta AND mushroom. Important to clean the leek as they often carry a lot of dirt, and discard the tough green leaves. You can use these in stocks and soups.

Mushrooms

Again, make sure you clean off the dirt. I usually go for button or chestnut mushrooms, but most mushrooms will work in this context!

To begin the pasta you’ll need to fry the pancetta first and begin rendering the fat. Then onto the mushrooms to brown, finally add the leeks to soften.

How to pan fry leek, pancetta and mushrooms - 6 step by step photos

Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce

Right, here’s where things get fun 😋

This sauce itself, as you may have guessed, does indeed include cream. But it’s not actually the cream that forms the base of the sauce. Introducing:

Starchy Pasta Water

Starchy pasta water is key to so many pasta sauces and this is no exception. By adding some of the water the pasta is cooked in you not only help dilute the richness of the sauce, but the starch molecules also emulsify with the fats from the butter and pancetta to help create an ultra silky creamy sauce.

Top Tip – Ensure you season the water well with salt so it doesn’t dilute the flavour, and, make sure you don’t fill the pot up with too much water or it won’t be as starchy as you need it to be.

How to make Gorgonzola Pasta (quick summary)

  1. Melt butter into leek, pancetta and mushrooms then pour in starchy pasta water.
  2. Stir and simmer to reduce then pour in cream.
  3. Melt in gorgonzola.
  4. Stir through pasta.

How to make gorgonzola pasta - 4 step by step photos

From there, just use your starchy pasta water to thin out the sauce as needed. It’s quite a thin sauce, you only need enough to just lightly coat the pasta so don’t go overboard. If your sauce is still thin after stirring in the pasta just keep it on the heat and stir until the sauce starts to coat the pasta.

Top Tip – Go easy with how much salt you season the sauce with. The pancetta, cheese and starchy water with already be salty so don’t go overboard. On the other hand a good for pinches of black pepper is encouraged!

If you like the sound of the blue cheese recipe then definitely check out my Homemade Blue Cheese Dip!

Looking for more creamy pasta dishes? Give these beauties a ganders:

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this gorgonzola pasta shall we?!

pasta plated up in a white bowl with skillet blurred in the background

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How to make Gorgonzola Pasta (Full Recipe & Video)

overhead shot of pasta in white bowl with two forks resting on it

Gorgonzola Pasta with Leek, Pancetta & Mushrooms

Penne pasta drenched in a creamy gorgonzola sauce with pancetta, mushrooms and leek. Creamy pasta recipes don't come more delicious than this!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 4
Calories: 763kcal
Cost per serving: ยฃ2 / $2.50

Equipment:

  • Large Deep Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Large Pot & Colander

Ingredients (check list):

  • 12.3oz / 350g Penne (or pasta of choice)
  • 3/4 cup / 180ml Double/Heavy Cream, at room temp
  • 5.3oz / 150g Pancetta, diced (can sub bacon)
  • 5.3oz / 150g Mushrooms, sliced (I use Chestnut Mushrooms)
  • 3.5oz / 100g Gorgonzola, diced into large chunks
  • 1 Leek, trimmed and diced (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  • In a large pan over medium heat add pancetta. Fry for a few mins until it starts to leak fat and JUST begins to brown, then add mushrooms. Continue frying until the mushrooms soften and begin to brown, then add your diced leek.
  • Carry on frying, stirring frequently until the pancetta is crispy with the fat full rendered and the mushrooms/leeks are cooked through and nicely browned.
  • Meanwhile, add your pasta to a large pot of salted water (season the water well) and cook until al dente. Just before draining, scoop a cup of the starchy pasta water.
  • Melt 2 tbsp butter into the pan and once melted, pour in 1/2cup/125ml of the starchy pasta water. Quickly stir to emulsify the starchy water, pancetta fat and butter. Reduce it down for a few mins, stirring as you go, then pour in cream.
  • Give it a good stir then melt in the gorgonzola. Once fully melted, season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for a few mins until it begins to thicken, then stir through the pasta.
  • If the sauce is still slightly thin then keep it on the heat and stir until the sauce thickens around the pasta. With the same token, if the sauce soaks up too quickly then thin it back out with some more starchy pasta water.

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Pancetta Fat - I don't use oil to start off frying this, it fries well in it's own fat. Just keep heat on a medium. Also, I usually keep the fat in (if there's not an extreme amount) for extra flavour and emulsify it with the pasta water, but you can drain away if you want to.
b) Leeks - ensure you trim off the dark green leaves (you can save these for stocks and soups, too tough to eat normally) and ensure you rinse the leek in cold water to remove any hidden dirt.
c) Starchy Water - Important the pasta water is a) well seasoned (so it doesn't dilute the flavour) and b) nice and starchy (so it helps create the creamy sauce). Make sure you don't pour too much water in the pot to boil otherwise it won't be starchy enough. Also, make sure you scoop the water out JUST before draining the pasta.
d) Can I use other Blue Cheeses? - Gorgonzola works great for it's smooth and creamy texture and it's subtle flavour. You can use other blue cheeses but you may have to reduce the quantity or it'll overpower the dish. Just work to preference.
e) Calories -ย  Divided by 4.

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Gorgonzola Pasta with Leek, Pancetta & Mushrooms
Amount Per Serving
Calories 763 Calories from Fat 399
% Daily Value*
Fat 44.32g68%
Saturated Fat 17.628g88%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.859g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.302g
Cholesterol 87mg29%
Sodium 492mg21%
Potassium 708mg20%
Carbohydrates 75.61g25%
Fiber 10.4g42%
Sugar 3.29g4%
Protein 19.2g38%
Vitamin A 1474IU29%
Vitamin C 3.7mg4%
Calcium 184mg18%
Iron 1.79mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Jeff Tryka
    April 11, 2020 at 12:11 am

    5 stars
    This was amazing, and a testament to why you are my favorite foodie on Instagram!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 11, 2020 at 10:30 am

      That’s very kind, Jeff! Thanks so much for following along ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Abigail Raines
    April 1, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    5 stars
    I’ve made a few pasta dishes with gorgonzola sauce so I know how yummy this is! My kind of comfort food!

  • Reply
    Charla @ That Girl Cooks Healthy
    April 1, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    5 stars
    Looks delicious and the type of recipe that you can throw some additional vegetables like cauliflower or broccoli into as well.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 1, 2020 at 8:08 pm

      Yes! Broccoli works so well with this recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Candice
    April 1, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    5 stars
    Oh wow. Such a decadent and creamy pasta. A delicious treat, comforting, and so easy to make. Thank you for the recipe!

  • Reply
    Cyndy
    April 1, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    5 stars
    This was heavenly – all my favorites are in this pasta – pancetta, gorgonzola, leeks, mushrooms!

  • Reply
    Catherine
    April 1, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    5 stars
    You had me at creamy Gorgonzola sauce! What a comforting and indulgent meal…this looks fantastic!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 1, 2020 at 8:07 pm

      You can’t beat creamy gorgonzola sauce can you!?

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