Now slice your clean leek into 1/4 inch slices cross-wise – they will look like little pale green half-moons – and set them aside while you cook up some bacon in a nice big skillet. Once the bacon is nice and crispy, scoop it out and sauté your leeks in the bacon drippings until they are just tender, about 3 minutes. Now pour in some cream and a little fresh chopped thyme and simmer it just until the cream thickens up the teeniest bit.
In the meantime you want to be cooking up your pasta – I used pappardelle but fettuccine will also do just fine. Make sure you save some of the pasta water before you drain it. Add the hot cooked pasta to the sauce in your skillet along with some grated Parmesan and your cooked bacon. Toss it all together with tongs, and if the sauce looks like it needs a little thinning, drizzle in some of the pasta water until it loosens up. Now scoop it onto your serving plates (and if you have heated up your plates in a 200 degree oven while all this is going on the pasta is going to stay nice and warm and creamy for the entire meal, so heat those plates!). Make sure everyone gets their fair share of leeks and bacon.
Recipe lightly adapted from Bon Appetit
Serves: 4 servings ~ smallish portions of this rich dish will be just fine!
- 6 slices bacon, cut into one inch pieces
- 2 leeks, trimmed to just the white and pale green parts, cleaned and sliced lengthwise and crosswise
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 8 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
- Cook bacon in a large skillet until done. Remove and drain on paper towels.
- With heat turned to medium high, sauté leeks in bacon drippings until tender, about 3 minutes. Add cream and thyme to skillet and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Meantime, cook pasta according to package directions (make sure to salt that pasta water!). Reserve a cup of pasta water and drain.
- Add drained pasta, cheese and bacon to sauce in skillet and toss to coat. Add pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce (you might not need all of it). Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve at once on warmed plates.