Gorgonzola, a type of blue cheese, is adored by food lovers for its creamy texture, slightly tangy bite and nutty undertones. But did you know that Gorgonzola is also extremely beneficial for your digestive and immune systems? Akin to probiotic yogurt, Gorgonzola contains beneficial bacteria that help the enzymes in the large intestine to break down and assimilate nutrients, as well as mycelia that help fight infection and maintain a healthy digestive tract.
This cow’s milk cheese forms the base of the pasta sauce recipe below, blending immaculately with the sweetness of nutmeg and the subtle aroma of fresh thyme. The characteristic blue mold that grows in the cracks of Gorgonzola can spread in remarkably low-oxygen environments, and this cheese is often pierced during its ageing period to encourage mold growth. Why? Because alongside the added flavor and odor, this mold, called Penicillium roqueforti, fights harmful bacteria in the digestive tract.
True Gorgonzola comes from the region in Italy near Milan, and is often cultured with previous starters and mold spores that may be centuries old, and thus full of beneficial bacteria. One of these is Bifidobacterium infantis, which has been clinically proven to relieve IBS symptoms, especially in women. This bacteria is calorie and lactose free, and often taken as a supplement to restore intestinal balance and regulate metabolism. Gorgonzola also contains lactic acid bacteria such as acidopholus, casei and rhamnosus, which all improve immune defense, energize the digestive system and even fight urinary tract and vaginal infections. Although the strains of starters and mold spores from the Gorgonzola region have been used for hundreds of years for this very distinctly flavored and highly cultured blue cheese, other blue cheeses such as Stilton and Roquefort can also be substituted.
From the Organic Authority Files
4 cups water
Pinch of salt
Glug of olive oil
2 cups organic pasta
1 ½ cups organic milk or half and half for a creamier sauce
6 ounces top quality, aged, organic Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons fresh organic thyme / 1 teaspoon dried organic thyme
4 generous grates of fresh organic nutmeg / 1/8 teaspoon ground organic nutmeg
organic white pepper to taste
1 organic apple, sliced, and organic almonds, chopped for optional garnish
Heat water in a medium pot for your pasta.
Combine the milk or half and half, crumbled Gorgonzola, thyme and nutmeg in a small saucepan. Cook it on low to medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has reduced by one-fourth. Once the pasta water has reached a boil, add a pinch of salt, a glug of olive oil and cook your pasta for 3 to 8 minutes, depending on the type you are using. Whole grain pasta generally takes longer to cook than egg noodles or white pasta.
Once the sauce is ready, add white pepper, cover and put aside until the pasta has finished cooking. Drain the pasta in a colander, place back in the cooking pot and toss with the Gorgonzola sauce. Place in a serving platter and garnish with fresh apple slices and chopped almonds. Sprinkle with a touch of nutmeg and fresh thyme for extra flavor.
Image: David Christian