The light from the computer screen was burning my eyes, or maybe it was just the content of the email. I had forgotten about a ton of lab materials in a professor’s lab from months before and now she was mad. I had to go pick all of it up immediately. I hopped in my car and searched for parking in Fort Sanders (the only problem with moving is that I can’t just walk to campus anymore.) I somehow procured a space only 3 blocks away and made my hike up the hill, praying that Dr. would not be in the lab to chew me out.
Her back was facing me and she was leaning over a beaker with some grey liquid, swirling it around like a wine glass making some comments about organic materials. Her grad student acknowledged me, and I made a couple quick apologies to which Dr. only said a few words. I got out of there with my test tubes and solutions without even a rude remark. Thank god for passive aggressive people.
As I left the building with testing supplies falling out of my arms, I felt a huge surge of relief. I would never have to do something like that ever again. I was free with only 2 and a half weeks left of class, and only 5 weeks until I left the country. My once important research was long behind me, and I was about to start on a completely new part of my life – I felt an instant inspiration to cook something fantastic.
Time to experiment with Gorgonzola cheese. I had discovered my addiction to Gorgonzola cheese sauce during my time in Italy. Anytime I saw it on the menu, I had to order it, and it was always incredible. When I got home and was teaching myself to cook, I attempted to make it, but I was left with a milky and clumpy mixture that tasted alright, but not the same as I had remembered. I put my attempts aside until this week when I finally felt motivated to put the effort in.
What I learned was I had been missing a roux; a simple mixture of half parts butter, half flour. It works as a thickening agent and creates the creamy consistency required of all good cheese sauces. Having made a proper roux, I could tell I was already on the right track before I had even added the cheese. By the time all the Gorgonzola, Gruyere, and Parmesan were folded into the sauce, we were drooling. I took one taste of it and wanted to cry it was so good. To add some more flavor, we tossed in some baby bella mushrooms and then before placing the dish in the oven, we covered it in slices of smoked Gouda. I was later rushed to the hospital for cardiac arrest.
But really, this dish could’ve induced a heart attack in an otherwise healthy person. When it was done baking we garnished it wish fresh basil and opened the 2011 Predator Zinfandel by Rutherford Winery. Then my stomach dropped. “We don’t have any wine glasses do we?”
He slowly opened the cupboard to expose his meager collection of coffee mugs. Just coffee mugs. But sometimes you have to put the wine snobbery behind you. I suppose it’s almost the season for it anyway, so Christmas tree mugs it is! The white mug really brings out the color of the wine too.
We both took a sip together and my face immediately lit up. It was spectacular with jammy notes of black fruits. I closed my eyes and just took it all in, but upon opening them, I started to get nervous. He was still looking into his mug with this expression I couldn’t quite figure out. Finally he opened his mouth, “It tastes kind of smokey and maybe peppery.”
I looked at him, shocked. “That’s exactly what it tastes like!”
I was so proud. But I was even more proud of our delicious meal. The noodles were perfectly al dente and you really can’t go wrong with cheese sauce. The layer of smoked Gouda accentuated the smokiness of the wine, while the spiciness of the Gorgonzola really brought out the pepper notes. I would highly recommend investing in both the wine and the cheese.