Such a boring name for a pasta recipe. The original is in Italian: Pasta con Porri e Prosciutto. Sounds much better. Then again, everything said in Italian sounds much better.
I love leeks. I don’t know why, it’s not like they are full of flavour. When they started showing up in the grocery stores here though, they were something new and different for my daily cooking and I wanted to use them. Never mind the fact that they were quite cheap. When I went back home for a visit I was planning on making this recipe for the people who were kindly taking us in …. Until I got to the grocery store and saw the price of leeks there. It would have cost me over $10 just for the leeks! I don’t know about you, but I’m not willing to pay that much for a common vegetable.
They’re not fun to clean either. Usually I cut mine in half and fan them out a bit so that I can get every bit of dirt that’s within each little leek leaf. Clean them well, nobody wants a spec of dirt in their veggies. Trust me, it’s worth it. It’s a unique recipe that full of a veggie not often highlighted in pasta dishes, it’s more of a sideline veggie.
The original recipe is just how I like to cook; a knob of butter, a slug of olive oil. Can’t remember where I even found it, as it was back in the days of printing recipes up and sliding them into my binder. It’s been made a million different ways by myself and many of my friends.
Here’s my version. You can put more butter and oil in if you like, it doesn’t hurt. More butter never hurts anything, but the waistline. If you don’t have prosciutto, use bacon, it’s a great substitute, just use a little less salt when seasoning. I also add a few cups of sliced mushrooms in with the leeks about halfway through because when I can, I add mushrooms to anything. I also like a tubey noodle with this, but I’ve used whatever I’ve found in the pantry.
Change it up however you like and let me know how you did it!
- 4-5 leeks, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 TAB olive oil
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 6 slices prosciutto, sliced (or bacon)
- 1/2 cup white wine (optional)
- 1/2 cup half and half or whipping cream
- 250 grams rigatoni or penne
Melt butter and oil in a saucepan. Add sliced leeks and stir until covered. Add broth and wine if using. Turn heat down to low and braise leeks gently, uncovered, about 20 minutes, until leeks are soft and sweet and liquid is mostly absorbed.
Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente, drain, and set aside.
When the leeks are done, add prosciutto or bacon, and cream. Add pasta and stir to coat. Add as much freshly grated parmesan as your diet will allow.
I throw in mushrooms that I cook about halfway through the leeks cooking time but that’s completely optional. Make sure you don’t use milk, it’s too thin. Sometimes I save a little bit of cooking water to make a little bit more of a sauce.