Pennette Rigate with Saffron Manchego Cream Sauce

I’ve started experimenting with the way I’ve been storing cheese lately and somehow forgot about a nice chunk of Manchego in the back of the fridge.  I had wrapped it in paper so it was able to breathe – It’s supposed to be better for the cheese’s flavor.  Turns out, when I discovered it after a couple weeks, there was no mold on it whatsoever but it had dried out considerably.  I took this in stride and decided to improvise a recipe from the hardened chunk of sheep’s cheese.  Man, am I glad I did.

What I came up with was a rich and flavorful pasta sauce heavily influenced by the flavors of Spain.  It was a simple recipe and I totally winged it.  I just love it when dinners like that work out.  Here’s what I used:

1 Cup Heavy Cream (1/2 and 1/2 would be fine, too)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Small Onion
4 Cloves Garlic
1 Pinch Saffron
3/4 Cup Shredded Young Manchego
Salt and Pepper
1 Pound of Pennette Rigate (That’s what I had on the shelf.  Most anything would work.)

Mince the onions and garlic and saute until soft in the olive oil.  Add the cream.  Add the saffron.  Stir as pasta cooks.  Slowly add the Manchego in the last couple minutes and stir until fully incorporated.  Top the cooked pasta and enjoy.

While Mrs. NH and I ate, we commented that this would be completely adaptable.  Want to add more Spanish flavor?  Add some chopped jamón.  Seafood?  Shrimp would be nice.  It has all of the characteristics of a paella base and a nice cheese bite.  The Manchego is much milder than Parmesan so it’s a nice change.  Try a version of you own and let me know about it in the comments, eh?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Fredericksburg Flash says:

    I guess you could call this Gourmet Adult Mac and Cheese??

    1. NotHemingway says:

      Yes you could. The words “health food” need not apply. Though, with the al dente pasta, it was nothing like the “glue” we were all used to eating back in the day.

      Grilled cheese, mac ‘n cheese, cheese puffs, and cottage cheese, anyone?

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