Guest Review: Gorgonzola Chicken Penne

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Hello readers. I have a bit of a change for you today. My dear cousin Liz loves to cook as much as I do and I’ve invited her to contribute to the blog. Here’s her first entry, Gorgonzola Chicken Penne. Thanks so much Liz! Looking forward to seeing some more from you in the future!

Hello. I am Danielle’s second cousin, Liz. I am also Italian and love to cook and bake. Glad to see we have such talented cooks in our family. I want to thank her for allowing me to be a “guest” here for “The Average Cook”.

When I was a waitress for my boyfriend’s (now husband’s) uncle’s Italian restaurant, I would always cringe when anyone would order blue cheese dressing, made from Gorgonzola or blue cheese. I could not understand how anyone would cover their salad in mold. Yeeuuuch! However, I guess it’s true that as you age your tastes do change. Today I often crave it! Especially accompanied by hearty buffalo wings with crispy, crunchy celery.

Gorgonzola is a blue veined Italian blue cheese made from unskimmed cow’s milk. It can be buttery or firm, crumbly and quite salty, with a ‘bite’ from its blue veining. It has been made since the early Middle Ages, but only became marbled with greenish-blue mold in the eleventh century. It is often used in Italian cooking. The name comes from Gorgonzola, a small town near Milan, Italy, where the cheese was reportedly first made in 879; however, this claim of geographical origin is often disputed by other towns.

I have subscribed to Taste of Home magazine now for just about three years. I opted to buy their hardcover “Holiday and Celebrations 2007” cookbook and while skimming through it this recipe just shouted “Oh, yeaahhh baby! Make me!!”

I must say I was in my “half-hour” dinner-making pinch before I had to rush off to work tonight and almost shrugged off trying to prepare this dish. But I was NOT having leftovers again. So, I gave it a go. To my surprise the prep time was minimal and easy. I cut a corner by using a steamer bag of frozen broccoli instead of fresh broccoli. I used Pinot Grigio for the white wine.

The combination of butter, onion, flour, chicken broth and wine with the Gorgonzola in the sauce made it so creamy, velvetty and down-right scrumptious. No restaurant could have made it any better tasting. I know it was good because my two finicky eight-year-old boys scarfed it down! And so did my nineteen-month-old! And of course my husband cried in delight. This is a keeper!

From Taste of Home Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook 2007
originally submitted by C.W. Steve Stevenson, Newfoundland, PA

Gorgonzola Chicken Penne

2 cups uncooked penne pasta
2 cups fresh broccoli florets (or 1 frozen steamer bag)
1 T. water
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
9 T. butter, divided
1 large onion, chopped
6 T. all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup white wine or additional chicken broth
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
Pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, place broccoli and water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until crisp-tender. (Or if using the frozen bag, steam in microwave following product instructions.) Set aside.
In a large skillet, saute chicken in 3 tablespoons butter until no longer pink. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, saute onion in remaining butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add broth and wine or additional broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low; stir in cheese until blended.
Drain the pasta and broccoli; add to the onion mixture. Add the chicken; heat through. Season with pepper. Yield: 6 servings.

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