Blue cheese is one of the most infamous of smelly cheeses. Not only does its pungent odor linger but its tanginess is somewhat of an acquired taste. And to top it off, it is made with mold! You should turn your head at these traits, however, because blue cheese can add bold flavor to grilled meat, pasta, salad, and even muffins. If you have shunned this classic cheese, these blue cheese recipes may just make you a convert.
What exactly is blue cheese?
Blue cheese is typically made from cow, sheep or goat milk injected with penicillium cultures that gives it the blue color speckled throughout its white body.
Yes, those blue spots are a type of mold, but it is good mold! It can do no harm to you and it makes for an ultra tasty product.
Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton, are the three mostly commonly used blue cheeses, but there are at least 75 others. The names of these particular cheeses apply to the region and country each was produced in — Roquefort in Roquefort, France; Gorgonzola in Gorgonzola, Italy; and Stilton in Derbyshire, Leicestershire.
There are also a few types of blue cheese produced in the United States with Wisconsin being the largest producer of the well-known Maytag blue cheese.
The taste improves with age
Blue cheese takes a minimum of two months to make, making it slightly more expensive than younger cheeses. Its salty and sharp taste, however, only gets better with age, so the higher price is definitely worth paying.
Blue cheese is a great melting and crumbling cheese and it can also be eaten in chunks. Blue cheese is quite versatile and tastes divine paired with fruit, melted on grilled meats, tossed in pasta, mixed into risotto and polenta, and it is especially nice partnered with red wine.
Though the sharpness of blue cheese is an acquired taste, don’t be afraid to try something new! Like one of these bold blue cheese recipes.
Blue Cheese Recipes
Blue Cheese Muffins
Makes 10 muffins
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (4 ounces) blue cheese, crumbled
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. and grease 10 cups of a muffin tin.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cheese. In another bowl, whisk together egg, milk and melted butter. Gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until moist.
3. Spoon mixture into 10 muffin cups and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Serve warm with flavored butter.
Blue Cheese and Pear Rigatoni
Makes 8 servings
2 firm pears (not peeled), sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound rigatoni pasta
8 ounces creamy Italian-style Gorgonzola cheese, cubed
1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1. In a large skillet, saute pear slices in melted butter until warm. Set aside.
2. Boil pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and save 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
3. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine reserved pasta water and Gorgonzola. Cook, stirring continually until cheese has melted.
4. In a large bowl, mix mascarpone cheese with pasta. Stir in half of the Gorgonzola sauce and all of the pears and walnuts. Spoon pasta into serving bowls and top with the remaining sauce. Garnish with extra walnuts, if desired.
Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce with Homemade Potato Chips
Makes 10 to 12 servings
4 Yukon gold potatoes, about 2 pounds, peeled, sliced into 1/8-inch thick slices, rinsed, and dried
Peanut oil, for frying
1/4 pound blue cheese, Roquefort or Gorgonzola
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
Several dashes of hot pepper sauce, to taste
1. Heat about 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees F. in a large pot. Place the potato slices in oil about 12 at a time and cook until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes.
2. Remove potatoes using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.
3. Mash blue cheese in a small bowl. Whisk in remaining ingredients until fully combined. Serve with warm potato chips.