The treasure trove. What can I even write that could begin to describe it?
Behold, the legend of the treasure trove.
This dish was created four years ago at the inaugural Wednesday Night Supper Club. My friend Margaret and I (Rachael joined us a week or two later) decided we’d been spending too much money eating out, so we had the brilliant idea to cook dinner together and watch Top Chef on Wednesday nights. Each week, they came to my adorable apartment in Decatur and we’d decide what we wanted to make and head to the Dekalb Farmers Market—I didn’t know how lucky I was to live less than a mile from it!—to pick up ingredients. No matter what we we’re making as the main dish, we always bought stuff to make sangria and guacamole, and we always ended up spending more at the farmers market than we would have if we’d gone to a restaurant (I’m looking at you, Taq-Taq.)
Out of that teeny-tiny kitchen—we used the dining room table for prep, and pieces of mushroom would inevitably end up scattered on the floor—came the trove, which has become near and dear to my heart, and the source of many jokes and made-up song lyrics. The name “treasure trove” originated from the bits of mushroom, peas, and sausage that would stick together and “hide” (wow, I mean I know that Margaret and I are pretty weird, but typing that out makes me cringe) under the noodles…bits of treasure trove in a sea of gorgonzola-slathered penne. OK. I’m going to stop now.
Oh, one last note. It’s a pretty rich dish, so I only break out the trove every few months. And, technically, the trove is made using penne pasta; if you use shells or rigatoni or some other type, it would be what we refer to as “Trove 2.0.”
Original recipe! Makes a lot of trove—about 8 servings. (Or, one dinner and a heck of a lot of leftovers.)
1 lb. penne pasta
3 or 4 spicy Italian sausages (the kind that’s not already cooked; you can get them at the meat counter at the store or just use the Johnsonville ones)
1-1.5 lbs. button or crimini mushrooms
1 cup frozen green peas (as a starting point)
For the sauce:
8 oz. gorgonzola cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup chicken stock (you can substitute another cup of half-and-half if you don’t have chicken stock on hand)
Boil the pasta until it’s al dente, then drain it in a colander. While the pasta is boiling, wash and slice the mushrooms.
Remove the sausage from its casing and add add to a large skillet. Brown the sausage and break it up into small pieces with a wooden spoon. When the sausage is almost all cooked through, add the sliced mushrooms and a little bit of olive oil.
While the sausage and mushrooms are cooking over medium heat, get started on the gorgonzola cheese sauce.
The sauce starts with a basic roux. Melt the butter in a separate, medium-sized pot, on low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a minute or two, then whisk in the half-and-half and chicken stock (or whatever combination of liquid you’re using). Bring to a boil, then add the gorgonzola. Reduce head to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes. Whisk until sauce is smooth.
Time to put it all together! While the cheese sauce is finishing up, add the peas to the sausage and mushroom mixture, then add the pasta. (This is why you need to use the largest skillet you have to cook the sausage and mushrooms!) Stir to combine.
Finally, pour the cheese sauce over everything and stir to make sure everything gets covered in the sauce.