Pasta with Leeks and Parmesan

Yet another shamefully easy recipe from In Late Winter We Ate Pears, but what can I say, I seem to be addicted.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to cook leeks until they’re sweet, soft, and melty and then to top them with cheese and pasta, because who are we kidding, the pasta is just an excuse to eat the rest of the dish.  But it didn’t occur to me, and now I can’t help but think of all the leek-eating I’ve missed out on, and I’m more than a little crazed to catch up.  The hard part of this dish is getting parmesan that tastes good.  I have two answers, neither of which is very sustainable (and please let me know if you have any suggestions here): Whole Foods expensive parmesan from Italy that tastes amazing OR send your boyfriend to Italy “for work” and have him import it for you.  Unfortunately the second method relies on your significant other (or even a distant acquaintance) finding a conference in Italy to attend, which problem I’ve solved for the immediate future by being sent to a conference in Italy myself this summer.  This is only a temporary fix, however, and come September I have no doubt we will be out of parmesan again.  Cheese-god help us.

Pasta with Leeks and Parmesan
4 leeks (1 inch in diameter)
2 tablespoons butter or less if you’re careful not to let the leeks burn
1/2 pound of pasta
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Put some water on to boil for the pasta.  Then wash the leeks well.  My favorite method of leek-washing is to cut off the bottom and green leaves of a leek and then to slice half-way through it length-wise to open up “sheets” of leek-flesh.  You can now rinse between the leek sheets to get out that tricksy dirt.  Keeping the leek-sheets as together as possible, cut the leeks into coin-shaped pieces or whatever is easiest.  Melt the butter in a sauce pan and let the leeks cook, covered and with a bit of salt and pepper, for about 8 minutes or until extremely soft and delicious-smelling.  Once done, let the leeks sit in their pot with the lid on to keep them warm while you cook the pasta.  When the pasta water is at a rolling boil, add a good amount of salt to the water (maybe a teaspoon or two for a medium-sized pot) and then add the pasta and cook for the amount of time indicated on the pasta bag/box.  When the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the leeks, mixing carefully to coat.  If the pasta seems too dry, add a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the parmesan and stir again.  Serve with perhaps a bit more parmesan on top and add salt and pepper to taste.

We eat other things, too.  Sometimes they involve Thai curry, which I adore eating as a soup with lots of vegetables–especially a couple months ago when I was so tired of root vegetables that I could have shot all the ones in my fridge if I weren’t so darn hungry.  I finally tried something else with Thai curry, which was to make a sauce for left-over baked fish.  I’ve tried a few times to write a post on making something to this effect, but since I never measure anything, it never goes well; the end result is a list of ingredients to be added in some order in arbitrary amounts: that is, the worst kind of recipe for someone who’s never made Thai curry before.

We’ve also been enjoying sugar toppings on muffins based loosely on these and these.

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