Could this be the most delicious recipe I've made?! Maybe! Sliced leeks and onion are caramelized until golden and sweet then mixed into a creamy parmesan sauce. Flavoured with garlic, lemon juice and rosemary for a luscious pasta sauce that will become a staple. I promise you will love this creamy leek pasta, I have zero doubts!
Hello! I am seriously SO excited to be writing up this creamy pasta dish, it's just all kinds of comforting deliciousness. I made this a couple of weeks ago and it was amazing but not quite right, so I have re-jigged and it's absolutely perfect.
The first test I caramelized the leeks and onion then added the cream straight in, followed by the parmesan cheese. The parmesan ended up clumping onto the leek mixture - disaster! I did not want to lower the amount of parmesan, because, it's me!
So this version I took the leek mixture out then made the sauce before adding them back it. It turned out 100% more delish than the first time, so sometimes when things go wrong, it's a good thing!
Leek - Make sure to clean the leek really well, dirt gets trapped in all those layers. Cut off a few slices first if you want to do the roasted ring topping like I have. Totally not necessary though. Discard the green parts.
Onion - Caramelised onion is a must! It adds a great flavour note here.
Garlic - Fresh cloves only please! I've used 3 - 4 but use more or less if you like.
Rosemary - I love the woody but fresh note the rosemary brings, thyme would also be a great choice.
Cream - Types of creams are called different things in different countries. I use single cream which is called light cream in the States. Heavy cream, double or whipping creams are too thick I find. It can be thinned down with starchy pasta water so use what you prefer.
Parmesan cheese - When you melt parmesan into a cream sauce it needs to be really finely grated. I use a microplane but you can use the star side of a box grater.
Lemon Juice - If you know my recipes you know I love a good old squeeze of lemon juice. In a cream sauce, it just freshens everything up and cuts through the richness. You could finish the dish with some lemon zest too.
See the recipe card below for full ingredient list and measurements.
How to make creamy leek pasta
- First, caramelize the sliced leek and onion in a large skillet or Dutch oven. This just means you cook them on a low heat until they are slightly golden and sweet. Don't stress about how long to do this, you could do it for less time than I specify and it would still be amazing. It needs to be on a very low heat.
- Set the leek and onion mixture aside in a bowl and return the pan to the heat.
- At the same time as the sauce, boil your pasta of choice in a large pot of water, according to package instructions.
- Sizzle the garlic for 30 seconds then lower the heat and add the cream.
- Add the lemon juice, salt, black pepper and parmesan.
- It should only be a really gentle simmer. Add your cooked pasta straight in, toss then add the leeks and onions back in.
- I always like to let the pasta gently bubble away in the sauce for a minute or two, it helps the sauce cling to the pasta. I like my pasta al dente so I usually undercook the pasta by a minute so it won't then overcook in the pasta sauce.
What pasta shape is best?
Use absolutely anything! Here I have used my semolina pasta dough to make homemade orecchiette. You could buy dried orecchiette or any other short pasta shape you like, I first tested it with rigatoni. If you feel like making some fresh egg pasta, make sure you use my easy homemade pasta dough, it's the best!
Why pasta water is your best friend!
You'll hear me harp on about the magic that is pasta water in 99% of my recipes. It really is a key ingredient in every sauce I make. The starch left behind in the salted water acts as a thickening agent and helps sauces cling to the pasta. I couldn't make a sauce without it.
I never EVER drain my pasta in a colander, I always transfer it directly to the sauce using a spider strainer or slotted spoon. That way the pasta pot full of water is left there for you to ladle in as you need. if you have seen my reels on instagram you'll notice my sauces are SAUCY.
Pasta soaks up liquid so quickly so I add enough pasta water to make it quite liquidy. By the time I serve into bowls and take to the table it hasn't dried up. You'll get to know what the right consistency is with some practice, you can't go wrong though I promise!
Why do I weigh my pasta?
I like accuracy OK?! It might seem an over the top step but isn't guessing how much pasta to boil kind of stressful? With weighing out your portions it means you'll get the perfect pasta to sauce ratio and that makes me happy always. Why do I give weights for fresh and dry pasta? Simple! Dried pasta, being dry, will expand and take on water so you need less of it to start.
Fresh pasta already has liquid in it, be it fresh eggs or water so you need slightly more of it as it won't change much in weight like dried pasta will. Most people do 100g dried per person or 150g fresh per person. I sometimes do more like 110g dried per person, we all know I love big portions.
How to make the roasted leek rings on top
If you feel like being a little extra and making the rings like in my photos, here is how! You might need an extra leek depending how many people you are cooking for. It's a great way to make it a little more fancy.
- Preheat your oven to 180c (350f)
- Cut 1.5cm slices of leek
- Drizzle with olive oil
- Roast in the oven for around 10 - 15 mins but keep an eye on them!
- I cheated and finished the middle off with a kitchen blow torch.
I like to start it on a medium heat while tossing with the butter, then I turn it down quite low so it cooks slowly. You want it to caramelize, not burn so it should never be hot enough to really catch on the bottom. Add some more butter if it gets too dry.
I use single cream which is called light cream in America. Double, heavy cream or whipping cream is too thick in my opinion. Add a splash more cream if you think it needs it.
Yes, absolutely! I tend to test for two as that is how many people in my house and I hate wasting food. Double all the quantities for four.
Yes and that would really take it to the next level! You could fry some bacon pieces separately, let it rest on paper towels and stir through at the end.
I really don't like storing left over pasta (to be honest there isn't usually any!). A creamy sauce especially isn't great the next day. It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for two days, if you must!
Want some other sauces to try?
If you made this creamy leek pasta and loved it, you simply MUST make my creamy roast garlic and lemon pasta. For another creamy parmesan-y delight then make my classic creamy bacon pasta sauce. I actually know for a FACT you will love my Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Olives. Check out my recipe section for all the goods!
Made this pasta sauce and loved it?
I would love it so much if you could leave me a review below! Also, if you take a photo make sure you tag me on instagram so I can see it!Print