Pasta Alla Gorgonzola is a super quick and easy pasta recipe. It is also a super fancy way of sauce penne pasta with a gorgonzola cream sauce. With ample texture from the artichokes, olives and capers this dish will tick all of your boxes! Penne gorgonzola (penne alla gorgonzola if you want to speak like an Italian 😉) gives you seriously indulgent yum on a plate.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Taste and texture: penne gorgonzola offers freshly cooked al dente pasta mixed together with garlicky, creamy cheesy yum. It is also packed with texture from the olives, artichokes and capers and yet very simple to bring together.
- Family friendly: this is a recipe that the whole family can enjoy together. There is not a great deal of garlic in the recipe and it blends in subtly with the other ingredients. The cream mellows the gorgonzola so the kids will enjoy it much like any other creamy pasta sauce.
- Vegetarian pasta: we all love a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs from time to time but other times it can be nice to have a lighter pasta. This gorgonzola penne is satisfying but won't leave you feeling as heavy 'ugh' as a meat sauce pasta 👍😊.
- Budget friendly: without the addition of meat and using low cost ingredients this is a recipe that won't blow the budget. Italian food at home is much cheaper than eating out!! Bring the penne gorgonzola together on a week night or night that you would normally have gone out to eat and save time, energy and effort all at once 😉.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Penne pasta: this is a tubular pasta which is great for creamy sauces as the tubes get the sauce on the insides too! Plus the little capers and bits of olives and artichokes can get stuck in there for mouthfuls of yum.
- Gorgonzola: sold in a flat triangular cheese shape this pale white cheese has distinctive blue marks through it. It has an aroma about it and is very soft when thinly sliced. The thicker it is, the firmer it will be.
- Heavy cream: in some countries this will be known as 'heavy cream'. In others, 'cooking cream' or 'regular cream'. It is great to use for making creamy pasta sauces and more often than not you can purchase a lighter calorie version.
- Butter: this helps to make the creamy, cheesy, pasta sauce.
- Garlic: to add a depth of flavour to the penne pasta sauce. It gets sautéed with the melted butter, salt and pepper.
- Salt and pepper: a little of each of these is used to season the creamy pasta sauce.
- Kalamata olives: you will be easily able to find a pitted bottle of these, but they are more expensive if you purchase the pre sliced version. So take a knife and chopping board and cut each pitted olive into 3 to 4 slices.
- Artichokes: marinated artichoke hearts from a jar that have been drained but not rinsed are best to use. I cut each small artichoke portion into 3-4 smaller pieces.
- Capers: these delightful small green buds bring a burst of flavour and texture to the recipe. They are sold in brine, which can be discarded. We want to drain them but not rinse them before using.
- Basil, cracked pepper and cheese: these are to garnish the dish for serving. Pecorino Romano is my favourite cheese to use but you can also use parmesan cheese as an option.
Tasty Tip: I do offer a number of substitutions and variations to give you options when making the recipe. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients, or wanting alternatives, read this section before diving into the instructions on how to make the recipe below 👍😉.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by cooking the pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water. Before draining, we need to reserve some of the pasta water for the sauce.
- Reserve some of the pasta water (Photo 1)
- Add butter to pan and melt (Photo 2)
- Add garlic, salt and pepper (Photo 3)
- Then add the white wine vinegar (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Pasta Alla Gorgonzola
Start by placing a medium sized sauce pan on the stove, fill with water, add salt and bring to the boil. Then add the dried penne pasta. Cook this after reading the packet instructions to see the indicated time.
Moments before draining the pasta, use a heatproof jug to scoop out some of the pasta water and set this aside.
Then place a large saute pan on the stove and at high heat, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic, salt and pepper. Use a wooden spoon to fry this to cook, it will take 1 to 2 minutes.
Next add the white wine vinegar to the sauteed garlic and stir to combine. Then pour the cream into the pan. Again, stir to combine the cream with the garlic butter mixture.
Next add the chopped gorgonzola cheese to the pan and allow this to melt, stir every now and then as it does.
- Pour in the cream (Photo 5)
- Add the chopped gorgonzola pieces (Photo 6)
- Then add the chopped artichokes (Photo 7)
- Add the drained penne pasta (Photo 8)
Next add the chopped artichokes to the gorgonzola sauce. Stir to cover these then add the drained cooked penne pasta to the pan.
- Add reserved pasta water (Photo 9)
- Then add the sliced olives (Photo 10)
- Next add the capers (Photo 11)
- Stir and garnish the pasta (Photo 12)
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Be as liberal as you please when garnishing and be sure to add some cracked black pepper, fresh basil leaves and freshly grated parmesan cheese or pecorino romano.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftovers of the dish in a bowl with cling wrap or sealed air tight container in the fridge. They will keep for 3 days.
In my opinion this dish tastes better when cooked and consumed immediately or reheated for leftovers. It is my recommendation to not freeze it.
How to Reheat
Reheat leftovers of the pasta in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on high until heated through.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- You can use a sweet white wine such as pinot gris in place of the white wine vinegar (equivalent amount).
- Vegetable stock is another substitute for the white wine vinegar.
- Yes, you can use another type of pasta should you wish to. Some good options are spaghetti, macaroni or fusilli.
- You can also use gluten free pasta if you want/need to.
- You can use a regular blue cheese to the equivalent amount in place of the gorgonzola.
- You can use black sliced olives in place of the kalamata olives.
- You can use fresh parsley to garnish the dish as an alternative to the fresh basil leaves.
- Walnuts are an awesome protein that you could toast and crumble for an alternative garnish idea.
- Both pecorino Romano and parmesan cheese are great options to use for garnishing the finished dish.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- Ensure the pasta water has a good pinch of salt when cooking the penne.
- Taste test the penne, al dente (ie a little bit chewy still is what to aim for).
- The gorgonzola is very soft so take a gentle approach to cutting it into smaller pieces.
- A heatproof jug is a great way to scoop out some of the pasta water before draining.
- There is no need to rinse the artichokes, olives or capers before using.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What do Italians use Gorgonzola for?
Italians eat gorgonzola much the same way that people all over the world do. Either raw as part of a cheese board, melted and made into sauce, on pizza risotto or featured on a charcuterie board.
Is Gorgonzola similar to Brie?
Gorgonzola and brie are similar in that they are both gourmet type cheeses with a soft texture. Brie however, comes incased in white rind which can be eaten, whereas gorgonzola has just the cheese itself with the mold visible throughout. It does have a harder surface on the outer edge that the inner soft cheese texture.
What is the most powerful tasting cheese?
Here are some popular cheeses known for their strong taste:
😍 More Easy Pasta Recipes
If your favourite thing is to pretend like you are Italy and get some pasta on your fork, then I have some more recipes I know you will love:
- Fusilli Bolognese
- Pasta Al Pesto
- Gnocchi Gorgonzola
- Lamb Bolognese
- Fettuccine Bolognese
- Turkey Mince Bolognese
- Chicken Spaghetti Bolognese
- Baked Pasta Bolognese
- Linguine Bolognese
It is time to get creamy, cheesy yum on our plate! You can also find all of my pasta recipes in the one spot.
Pasta Alla Gorgonzola
- 1 Saucepan
- 1 Colander
- 1 Heatproof jug to gather the pasta water
- 1 Large saute pan
- 1 Wooden spoon
- ¼ or ½ cup measuring spoon to portion the pasta water
- 500 grams/16 oz penne pasta
- ½ cup reserved pasta water Note 1
- 2 tablespoons/40 grams unsalted butter chopped into cubes
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (cooking salt)
- ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 tbs white wine vinegar Note 2
- 1 cup/250 ml heavy cream
- 1 cup artichokes drained, roughly chopped, Note 3
- 200 grams/8 oz gorgonzola cheese
- 1 cup kalamata olives pitted and sliced, Note 4
- ½ cup capers drained, not rinsed, Note 5
- cracked black pepper
- parmesan cheese (or pecorini romano)
- basil leaves
- Cook penne pasta: place a medium sized saucepan on the stove, add water and salt and turn to high heat. Cook penne according to the packet instruction indicated time.
- Reserve pasta water: scoop out 1 to 2 cups of pasta water, set aside. We only need ½ cup, however, it can be handy to store some leftover in the fridge.
- Gorgonzola pasta sauce: add the butter to a large sauté pan and turn to high heat. As the butter melts, add the garlic as well as the salt and pepper then stir to combine. Pour in the white wine vinegar and give it a stir. Then add the cream and stir to combine. Allow the cream to come to the boil then turn the heat to low. Add the gorgonzola cheese and allow this to slowly melt into the cream, stir occasionally throughout this time.
- Artichokes: when the gorgonzola is melted and the sauce is consistently combined add the chopped artichoke pieces. Stir these and allow to heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Penne: add the cooked drained penne to the creamy gorgonzola sauce. Pour in ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water, stir, then add in another ¼ cup. Stir till the pasta water is consistently combined in the sauce.
- Sliced olives and capers: next add the sliced kalamata olives, stir then add the capers and stir again. Allow the dish to fully heat through.
- Garnish: liberally garnish the dish with cracked black pepper, freshly grated parmesan cheese or pecorino romano and basil leaves. Provide forks and spoons for serving and enjoy!
- Note 1 - Reserved pasta water: I scoop out 1 to 2 cups, but we actually only use 2 x ¼ cups (½ cup for the recipe). It can be handy to have some of this spare to juice up any leftovers.
- Note 2 - White Wine Vinegar: you can use the equivalent of white wine or vegetable stock as an alternative.
- Note 3 - Artichokes: This is the equivalent amount of 2 x jars of 230 grams marinated artichoke hearts. American friends, you can use the 13.75 oz tin which is roughly the same overall volume.
- Note - 4 Kalamata olives: this is the equivalent of a 350 gram jar (12 oz). Drained, not rinsed. The olives will be sold pitted, but you will need to slice them for the recipe. Or purchase sliced kalamata olives, however, they are more expensive and it doesn't take long to slice your own!
- Note - 5 Capers: this is the equivalent of a 110 gram jar of capers (American friends 3.5oz). Drained, not rinsed. The 'baby' capers are my preference over the larger pea size capers.
- Serving size: enough for 4 x servings or can stretch further if serving as a side/in addition to other meals.