This has to be one of my favorite pasta dishes. It’s reasonably simple to cook and tastes fantastic! Cooking the leeks in this way makes them so unbelievably tender and sweet that I have a hard time convincing myself to cook them any other way!
This is a simplification of a Jamie at Home recipe. The original uses fresh pappardelle (which I make to go with it when I have time but dried tagliatelle or tripolline, as used above, is a good substitute when time is short) he also usually finishes his off with a mushroom pangrattato. The original recipe is great and as he suggests would make a great dinner party dish but we really enjoy this modified version as well.
Pasta with slow braised leeks
2 leeks, trimmed, cleaned and sliced into 1cm thick semi circles.
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced (more or less as you prefer)
sprig of thyme (or 1/2 an tsp dried thyme – not sure Jamie would approve but that’s what I often use.)
good splash of white wine
salt and pepper
250ml veg or chicken stock
4 slices Parma ham
Pasta of your choice
- Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan. Once hot add the thyme, garlic and leeks. Stir to coat the leeks well, then add the wine, stock and season with pepper (and salt if you wish but I always think there is enough in the stock).
- Cover the top of the leeks with the Parma ham slices and the pan lid. You are aiming to try and keep as much of the steam in as possible so try to ensure there are as few gaps as possible between the slices of ham. I also usually cut a circle of baking paper with a diameter a few centimeters larger than my frying pan and place this on top of the leeks and ham.
- Reduce the heat to medium and allow to slowly cook for 20-30 minutes (by which points the leeks will be tender and sweet).
The picture below is after the leeks are cooked.
- Once cooked remove the ham, slice it up and return to the pan of leeks. Mix well. At this stage you can season if necessary, add a couple of small knobs of butter and a handful of Parmesan into the sauce and allow to mix together.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and a little of the cooking water. Stir well.
- Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan.