- kosher salt, pepper
- 8 oz. fresh baby spinach (about 10 lightly packed cups)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (adjust according to taste)
- 12 oz uncooked penne (about 3 1/2 cups)
- 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh chives
Make sure there's a rack positioned in the center of your oven, then preheat to 350 degrees. While it's heating, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Put the spinach in a colander in the sink.
Spread the walnuts out evenly on a baking sheet and toast until dark golden-brown, about six to eight minutes. You'll be able to smell them when they're ready. Oh man. I just started drooling. When they're done, set aside to cool.
Cook the penne to al dente. Reserve about half a cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta in the colander over the spinach. This, and the hot pasta lying on top of the spinach for the next few minutes, actually cooks the greens. How cool is that?
Add the gorgonzola and cream to a 10- to 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and bring to a gentle boil. Add pepper to taste, as well as a pinch of kosher salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is slightly thickened and the gorgonzola is mostly melted. It should take about two to three minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the pasta and spinach, and stir to coat. Add half of the walnuts and chives and stir again to combine. Cook until the pasta absorbs some of the sause, about two minutes more. If the mixture gets too thick, add some of the reserved cooking water to loosen it up. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Dish out into serving bowls and top with the remaining walnuts and chives, and try not to wolf it down like a starved person. (Trust me, it's harder than it sounds!)