It’s been a while since we’ve done a pasta dish at home. With both of us trying to get leaner, our meals are more of a small meat – small starch – large veg variety. But this one looked too good to pass up.
On this one, it’s very important that you clean the leeks thoroughly, as soil and grit can get in every layer of the bulb. To ensure cleanliness, wash the entire plant. Then, trim away the dark green leaves and the root cap, and run the remaining piece under cold water. Cut the piece in half lengthwise and slice. Place slices in a bowl. When all the leeks are sliced and in the bowl, fill bowl most of the way with water and shake leek pieces vigorously with your hands to make sure that all the grit is gone. Empty into a colander and rinse again.
LEEK PENNE CARBONARA
1 lb penne pasta
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
5 leeks, trimmed, thinly sliced, and cleaned
9 slices bacon, sliced into thin pieces
2 large eggs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Start a large pot of salted water boiling. Heat a large straight-sided skillet over medium heat. Add bacon pieces to skillet and cook until browned and crispy. Line a plate with a paper towel. When bacon is done, remove with a slotted spoon and allow to dry on toweled plate. Leave only 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in the pan. Pat bacon dry and return to the skillet. Add sliced leeks and a generous amount of salt and pepper to the skillet. Cook mixture until leeks are tender, 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook until desired doneness. While the leeks and pasta are cooking, crack eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add the Parmesan cheese to the eggs. Zest lemon peel into eggs, then halve lemon and squeeze the juice in as well. Whisk together thoroughly. While pasta is boiling, add 1/3 cup of the pasta water to egg mixture and whisk again.
When pasta is done, drain completely and add to egg mixture. Add leek mixture to bowl. Toss ingredients thoroughly to ensure that all pieces are coated. Add more ground pepper to taste.
Serve with a little extra Parmesan cheese if desired.
Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!