This Blue Cheese Pasta with Walnuts is one of the most comforting yet easy pasta dinners around. The creamy blue cheese sauce is simple to make whilst the pasta is cooking and the toasted walnuts add a wonderful crunch to this delicious vegetarian pasta dinner. Serve it midweek for an easy meal or over the weekend when you have guests. Eat it as a main meal or add a seared steak and use it as a delicious creamy cheesy side.
How to make a creamy blue cheese sauce for pasta.
The sauce is a simple mix of heavy cream and blue cheese, but the key to creating a smooth sauce is to remove the blue cheese from the fridge about 10 minutes before you want to start cooking. (20 minutes if you are using a block of cheese).
This allows it to soften and it will melt into the sauce more easily. If you forget or don’t have time then remove the cheese from the fridge and set it next to the hob whilst you boil the water for the pasta. This should soften it a little.
When heating the cream you want it to be hot but not boiling, as boiling the cream will mean the sauce will end up quite thick and claggy. However don’t panic if your cream does start to boil, immediately remove it from the heat and stir in teaspoon or two of cold water. This will reduce the temperature and thin the cream back up.
Which blue cheese to use for the sauce?
The answer here is really any blue cheese you like. This sauce is equally delicious when made with blue cheese crumbles or a block of blue cheese.
If you want to buy a block of blue cheese then try one of the following:
- Danish Blue
- Saint Agur
- Hook’s Blue Paradise
We can't eat nuts, can we leave them out?
Definitely! And as a substitute for the nuts try a pangrattato to add some crunch.
Pangrattato is an Italian pasta topping made with toasted breadcrumbs. You can find full instructions for how to make it HERE.
I don't like walnuts can I use a different nut?
You sure can!!! If you don't like walnuts then substitute in any of the following:
Top tips for making Blue Cheese Pasta with Walnuts
Use room temperature cheese
Remove the blue cheese crumbles from the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before you start to cook. (see above for more details about the blue cheese)
Use fresh rosemary for your sauce
The fresh rosemary brightens the sauce and I am afraid dried rosemary isn’t right here, it will be woody and make the dish unenjoyable to eat. If you can’t get fresh rosemary then simply leave it out.
Pick a pasta shape rather than long pasta noodles
I like to use shells here as they hold the sauce well, but penne or ziti would be great too.
Set a timer for the walnuts
When you roast nuts in the oven it is so easy to over cook them and end up with burnt nuts (not good!), set a timer so you won't forget them.
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Blue Cheese Pasta with Walnuts
- ½ cup blue cheese (see note 1)
- ⅓ cup walnuts (see note 2)
- 10 oz pasta shells
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (see note 3)
- Remove the blue cheese from the fridge so it isn't chilled when you make the sauce.
- Preheat oven to 425°F/220ºC.
- Place the walnuts on a lined baking tray and bake then for 5 minutes until golden. Set a timer and move on to the next step.
- Get a large pan of water on to boil then add a good amount of salt.
- Cook the pasta until al dente. (This is usually a minute less than the packet suggests)
- Whilst the pasta is cooking pour the cream and rosemary into a small heavy based pan and heat over a medium heat until it is almost simmering. (See note 4)
- Crumble the blue cheese into the cream and stir gently until it has melted.
- Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta.
- Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Add a little cooking water until the sauce coats all the pasta and is at the desired consistency. (approximately ¼ cup)
- Serve sprinkled with the toasted walnuts.
- This sauce is equally delicious when made with blue cheese crumbles or a block of blue cheese. So pick a blue cheese you love. See bulk of post for further blue cheese options.
- If you can't eat nuts then substitute in Pangrattato. This is an Italian pasta topping made with toasted breadcrumbs. You can find full instructions for how to make it HERE.
If you aren't a fan of walnuts then you can substitute in any of the following:
- The fresh rosemary brightens the sauce and I am afraid dried rosemary isn’t right here, it will be woody and make the dish unenjoyable to eat. If you can’t get fresh rosemary then simply leave it out.
- Don't allow the cream to boil as this can make the sauce very thick and claggy. If it does boil remove it from the heat immediately and add a teaspoon of cold water to cool and thin it.