Friday, July 29, 2011

Pasta with Creamy Leek and Garlic Pesto

A few weeks ago Mark Bittman share this recipe on the NYTimes, which The Husband had to try. It's actually quite rare for us to buy leeks because as The Sister likes to say, "Leeks just look like scary green onions." However, if cooked enough they are quite sweet and flavorful.

We recently watched Jacque Pepin make a Leek and Potato Soup on PBS, where he quartered the leeks length-wise to wash. You'd be surprised how much dirt comes out of the tightly wrapped layers of leek. So make sure you use this technique and wash thoroughly!

Pasta with Creamy Leek and Garlic Pesto


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
4 ounces bacon, chopped
4 or 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
About 1 1/2 pounds leeks (2 or 3 large), trimmed, well rinsed, and chopped
1 egg * The Husband adds 2 to make it super creamy
1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus more for garnish
Black pepper
8 ounces any pasta
* Parmesan cheese is added on every pasta dish at our house

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat; add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until just beginning to crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain it on paper towels.

2. Turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic and leeks to the skillet, along with another tablespoon or so of oil if needed to keep things from sticking, and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Transfer the garlic and leeks to a blender or food processor with the egg, parsley and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. Return the purée to the skillet, off heat.

4. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it’s tender but not mushy, then drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Turn the heat under the leek mixture to medium, add about 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid to thin the pesto, and toss in the pasta, adding more liquid as needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning, garnish with the bacon and more parsley, and serve.

We are always descending on this dish so quickly that I forgot to take the picture while it was plated! This dish is super simple and you can see how easy it is on Mark Bittman's video demonstration

Hope you have a great weekend. Next week, I'll be sharing pictures and posts from the Bizarre Food Challenge that is tonight. Stay Tuned!

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