Here’s another oldie but goodie – a dish I made when I first moved into my little townhouse, I was so excited to have a “real” kitchen as opposed to an apartment sized kitchen, I was cooking up a storm! I absolutely love this dish. It’s super creamy and so flavorful. I would say it’s even better than Fettuccine Alfredo. It calls for spaghetti but I only had fettuccine and I forgot to reserve some of the pasta water so my sauce was super thick but good. The braising technique sounded intimidating but it was quite easy. You just put the parchment paper on top and leave it for 40 minutes (visit Facebook for a while.) Five more minutes of effort and you have this elegant meal to rival anything you’ll find in your local Italian restaurant.
Due to my lack of photographic and food styling efforts, you’ll have to imagine it elegantly plated 😉
Spaghetti with Creamy Braised Leeks
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium leeks (light-green and white parts only), halved and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (10 cups)
10 medium cloves garlic, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup lower-salt chicken broth
12 oz. dried spaghetti
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 oz. grated Pecorino Romano (1/3 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Heat the butter and oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the butter has melted. Add the leeks, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring often, until the leeks begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and press a 12-inch round piece of parchment over the leek mixture to cover completely (see the Test Kitchen blog for more on this technique). Cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally (you will have to lift the parchment), until the leeks are very soft but not falling apart and the garlic is very soft, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Uncover the skillet and remove the parchment. Stir in the cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss. If necessary, add the reserved pasta water 1 Tbs. at a time to make a silky sauce that clings to the pasta.
Off the heat, stir in the cheese and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.
nutrition information (per serving):Calories (kcal): 650; Fat (g): 24; Fat Calories (kcal): 220; Saturated Fat (g): 12; Protein (g): 17; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): 87; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 540; Cholesterol (mg): 60; Fiber (g): 6;