Great Simple Recipe: Pasta With Leeks
I think leeks have a bad rap–I remember “eww”ing a lot as a child. But oh, how misinformed I was! Potato leek soup, pork and leek dumplings, leek omelette…oh, let me count the ways a leek can be delicious. Now that I’m an adult, I planted a row of leeks in my garden, and I “ew” no more. They’re such beautiful vegetables; they stand up straight like a duke, their smooth white base and sturdy green leaves spiking to the sky. Yum, in other words.
Chefs Deirdre Heekin and Caleb Barber, authors of In Late Winter We Ate Pears: A Year of Hunger and Love, give great simple recipes (combined with stories of where the recipe comes from!):
The following is an excerpt from In Late Winter We Ate Pears: A Year of Hunger and Love. It has been adapted for the web.
Pasta e Porri
Pasta with Leeks and Parmigiano
Let’s not pretend that this dish isn’t really just a vehicle for the cheese. The heat of the pasta and the sweetness of the leeks seem to elevate the aroma and flavor of the parmigiano to the front of the dish. And that’s just fine. If you don’t have leeks, you can substitute yellow onions. Serves 4.
4 leeks (each about 1 inch in diameter)
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¾ pound pasta [I recomend penne, orecchiete, or
Tajarín (p. 112)] 2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus additional as needed
Cut off the bottoms of the leeks and wash the leaves well. Agitate the leaves in a tub of cold water and rub off any stubborn dirt with your fingers. Shake off as much water as you can. Cut the leeks crosswise into ¼-inch slices.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks and a few large pinches of salt and pepper, and stir well to coat. Cover the pot, keeping the heat medium. Stir the leeks after 6 or 8 minutes, cover again, and cook them down until they are completely softened. Taste them and correct the seasoning. Turn off the heat, but let the sauce stay warm in its pot while you cook the pasta. Cook the pasta. Once it’s ready, drain the pasta but don’t shake off all the water.
Add the 2 cups grated cheese to the sauce and stir. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss together thoroughly. Give the cheese a chance to melt and really bind everything together. Add a little olive oil if the dish seems too dry. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper. Serve with additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano so that each diner may add cheese as desired at the table.
I’d like to add, because I can’t hold back: I was so thrown by this recipe (and I have a ton of leeks in the garden) that made this last night for dinner. It was so delicious! So light, so fresh. I love their recipes.
This time of year we always seem to get a hint of spring in the air for a moment, whether it’s the snow storms starting to taper off or a glimpse of grass in your yard. The lure of sweetness calls from the maple trees and we begin daydreaming about all of the wonderous treats…Read More
Gary Paul Nabhan is an internationally celebrated nature writer, food and farming activist, and proponent of conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity. He holds the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona Southwest Center, where he works with students, faculty, and non-profits to build a more just,…Read More
Trying something for the first time can be intimidating, especially when it’s something as big as learning how to live off your land. But like with any new adventure you shouldn’t bite off too much at once. Instead, it’s better to take the time to properly plan and educate yourself on what it will take…Read More
Growing food indoors or in an urban setting can be quite a challenge. You need to find the right kinds of plants, purchase or build tools, and make sure you have lots of time and patience. Oh, and don’t forget making sure your garden gets enough light so it can thrive! If your space doesn’t…Read More
Winter is the time when broth and stock-based meals shine. From mouth-watering stews to warm and silky gravies these dishes warm our bellies and fill our souls. If you want to create a true work of art you must first learn the intricacies of each of the classic culinary stocks and then master the art…Read More