Gráinne O’Keefe: Three pasta dishes made even better with Irish cheese

Comfort cooking: Italian cooking is renowned for its pasta dishes, and for good reason

My earliest memory of cooking is standing on a chair at the cooker preparing spaghetti bolognaise. I vividly remember pouring a jar of ready-made tomato sauce into a pan of browned mince and shaking some dried thyme and oregano into it and thinking that I was a master chef.

10 years of Irish Times Food Month

Fast forward 20 years, and pasta is still one of my favourite comfort foods, but along the way I have learned how to make all elements from scratch and how to elevate the sauces using more than a shake of dried herbs.

Italian cooking is renowned for its pasta dishes, and for good reason. For me, the key to comfort food is cheese. Cheese is one of my favourite ingredients and I firmly believe Ireland has some of the best cheeses in the world. Most classic pasta dishes can be made even better by the addition of an Irish cheese.

These are three of my favourite pasta dishes. The celeriac pasta is a great gluten free alternative, and for a regular pasta recipe, the spinach pasta dough can be made without the spinach. For a late after service quick meal, or if I’m not feeling like making pasta, I’ll use some Rosa Madre fresh pasta instead, by far the best available, in my opinion.


Recipe: Spinach agnolotti, Cashel blue cheese, roasted onion broth and cheese crisp

Recipe: Celeriac cannelloni, Gubbeen cheese, wild mushrooms and crispy onions

Recipe: Cais na Tire cacio e pepe with roasted garlic bread