Pasta with Creamy Leek Sauce


I don't think I'd ever made anything with leeks before this. They're not something my mom cooked with often and I haven't eaten them much otherwise. That's why I bought a bunch of them the other day.


Leeks are in the onion family and actually look like a larger version of scallions (aka green onions, aka spring onions). I searched recipes to get an idea of what they're often paired with and how they're prepared. Since leeks are a light flavor, they often accompany rich ingredients. I decided to make a sauce for pasta using leeks, butter, cream, white wine, garlic, parsley white pepper and nutmeg. Bacon would have been a good addition but I didn't have any.

The result was rich, but not too thick or heavy. With a crisp green salad and light vinaigrette, it's just right. Now I'm looking for other uses for leeks. Any ideas?

Pasta with Creamy Leek Sauce

Off-the-cuff recipe inspired by this and this. Makes two servings. Please forgive me if my measurements aren't perfect, and feel free to adjust them as you find necessary. Comments, corrections and suggestions are welcome.

  • 4 oz. dried penne
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or a little less, 25g)
  • 6 baby leeks, white and light-green parts thinly sliced
  • 1 small clove of garlic,  minced
  • little more than 1/2 cup heavy cream (125ml)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • white pepper (few shakes or pinches to taste)
  • freshly grated nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon, or to taste)
  • small handful of fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 oz. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for sauce, and more to serve on top if you wish

Start a pot of water for the penne.

Slice leeks, mince garlic and chop parsley.

Over medium heat, melt butter in saute pan. Add sliced leeks and a little salt (bearing in mind whether your butter is salted as well). Add garlic. Turn down heat if butter begins to brown. As leeks start to soften, add wine and cream and simmer.

When water is boiling, allow pasta to cook while you continue prepare cream sauce.

Add parsley, pepper and nutmeg. Taste to make sure you're on the right track as far as wine and cream and salt. Make adjustments as necessary. Add cheese.

When pasta is done, drain water and toss the penne with the sauce. Serve immediately.


4 Replies to “Pasta with Creamy Leek Sauce”

  1. My favorite is potato leek soup (with lots of bacon).

    A dinner I go back to again and again is leeks sauteed in olive oil with plenty of lemon juice over pasta. Just salt and pepper (and sometimes red pepper flakes) and a ton of freshly grated parmesan.

  2. Leeks are also wonderful braised by themselves– they’re a great (if super rich) veggie side. Bittman has a recipe in HTCE which uses butter, stock/water/wine, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, but which has multiple variations including tomatoes, etc.

    If you’re looking for something more substantial/main-dishy, the NY Times ran a feature on Thomas Keller that included leek bread pudding that looked nothing short of delicious.

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