Italian Mashup

Pasta dish inspired by Wright & Co.’s Marc Djozlija’s trip to Italy
Photographs by Joe Vaughn

“This dish is one of my fiancee Laura’s favorites,” says Marc Djozlija, chef/proprietor at Wright & Co. “It was inspired by a trip to Trieste, Italy, and is a combination of two different pasta dishes I had there — a pasta with Italian sausage and crumbled Gorgonzola, and a different pasta I had with pangrattato, dry grated bread that was put on top of the pasta. The walnuts are just an addition I thought would go well with the dish.” Djozlija says pangrattato originated with the less fortunate Italians who couldn’t afford Parmesan and instead used day-old bread to top their pasta. — Molly Abraham


Ditalini Pasta with Italian Sausage, Gorgonzola Cheese, and Walnut Crust (serves 8)


2 ounces kosher salt
1 pound ditalini pasta
2 ounces olive oil
1 pound Italian sausage, diced
2 ounces shallots, chopped
2 quarts blue cheese sauce (see recipe)
2 cups walnut crust (see recipe)


In a medium sauce pot, bring 1 gallon of water and the salt to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Place pasta in ice water and set aside. In another sauce pot, heat the oil and add the sausage. Cook until golden brown. Add shallots, and cook until they are golden brown. Add pasta to the sausage and oil mixture and cover with the cheese sauce. Incorporate well and cook the pasta in the sauce until the pasta is cooked and the cheese sauce is hot, approximately 3 minutes. Spoon the pasta mixture into a bowl and dust the top of the pasta liberally with the walnut crust, coating the pasta completely.


Walnut Crust

4 ounces olive oil
6 garlic cloves
1 cup walnuts, ground
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped


In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium. Add the garlic cloves and toast until golden brown. Remove cloves from the oil and discard. Place the walnuts in the hot oil and toast until golden brown. Add the panko breadcrumbs to the olive oil and toast them until they are golden brown as well. Place mixture on a sheet pan to cool.Add the chopped parsley, incorporate well, and set aside.


Blue Cheese Sauce 

¼ pound butter
1 cup flour
1 quart whole milk
1 quart heavy cream
1½ cups sour cream
1 pound Gorgonzola
½ pound Maytag blue cheese


Melt butter in a large sauté pan, whisk in flour creating a roux, and cook on low heat until the mixture becomes golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Separately, in a large sauce pot, heat the milk and heavy cream until it starts to simmer. Whisk in the roux until it is incorporated well and simmer for 5 minutes. Whisk in the sour cream and the cheese until well incorporated. Strain and cool.