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Marcella Hazan's Pasta with Leek Sauce--Yummy!

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  • farmersdaughter Jan 24, 2005 10:53 PM
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For dinner tonight I made a Leek Sauce from Marcella Hazan's "Marcella Says . . ." and served it tossed with an artisanal dried rigatoni. I highly recommend this sauce. It is an incredibly earthy and appealing dish. My husband was skeptical, in that the ingredient list was merely leeks, oil, butter, garlic, salt, pepper a little cream, pasta and parmigiano-reggiano cheese, but we both trust Marcella implicitly and we were not disappointed. A great meal for a cool winter night. We served it with roasted broccoli with lemon as a side dish, a great combination. Make this pasta—your efforts will be rewarded!!

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  1. Can you give us a (re-written) version of her recipe?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sharuf
      f
      farmersdaughter

      Here is a paraphrased version of the recipe:

      6 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, sliced into rounds 1/4" thick
      1 T veg oil
      3 T butter
      6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
      fine sea salt
      1/2 cup heavy cream
      pepper
      1 pound pasta (strozzapreti, fusilli, penne or rigatoni)
      freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to taste

      Soak leeks in a large bowl of cold water to remove dirt. Shake off excess water but do not dry off leeks. Put oil, butter and garlic in a 12" skillet on medium heat. Cook garlic briefly, stirring; remove and discard it when it turns very pale blond. (I saved the cloves and roasted them in the oven in aluminum foil to spread on bread.) Add leeks to pan, sprinkle them with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they become very soft, almost creamy in consistency (takes about 45 minutes). If the pan gets dry while the leeks are cooking down, add 3 or 4 tablespoons water. When leeks are completely soft, increase heat to high and continue cooking them until they become colored a pale nut color, turning them over occasionally. Sprinkle with generous grindings of pepper to counterbalance their potentially cloying sweetness. Add cream and reduce it over high heat for a minute or two. Add the pasta to the sauce in the pan, toss together over high heat for a minute, add a generous amount of parmigiano-reggiano cheese and serve.

      1. re: farmersdaughter

        thank you for posting the recipe! i just fixed it tonight for the family and it was a huge hit. wow . . . . . those leeks taste incredibly sweet after cooking for that long. per your suggestion, i popped the garlic in the oven as well and enjoyed it spread on homemade italian bread.

        yum!

        1. re: theconiglio
          f
          farmersdaughter

          I am so glad you liked it! That one is definitely going on the "repeat" list at our house.

    2. Wow! That is a truly amazing and very easy dish. Just perfect!

      1. Thanks so much for posting that. I cooked with leeks for the first time recently and was really blown away by them (doesn't take much to impress a chowhound, huh? I'm not as cloistered as I sound!). This sounds like a great, next leek recipe for me to try.

        1. How long did it take to make the sauce? Did you serve right away? What kind of pasta did you use? Thanks!

          1. i made this last night. cut the recipe in half and while it was delicious (fantastic ash wedensday meal!), i feel like the sauce wasn't "wet" enough if that makes sense. I may have gone overboard with the parm, perhaps? i also used light instead of heavy cream.... could that be it? anyone else have this issue?

            2 Replies
            1. re: eLizard

              If your pasta sauce is too dry (no matter the kind of sauce), add some of the pasta cooking water until you obtain the consistency you like.

              1. re: pikawicca

                i do this often and i did last night, too. i think my skillet was too big for a half recipe and it just evaporated too quickly.

            2. If you love the above pasta recipe, or are just discovering leeks, you MUST try making a leek tart. Essentially the same recipe as above (no pasta though). Once you have cooked down the leeks and added cream, add a raw egg or two (cool your leek mixture first!), a generous helping of grated gruyere, some chopped prosciutto and pour the whole thing into a pie shell. Top with more gruyere and prosciutto and bake at 350 for about half hour. Allow to cool slightly then serve. This recipe is amazing and very flexible.

              1 Reply
              1. re: xscientist

                I make Julia Child's leek tart all the time. It's a hit.