Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pasta with Leeks, Peas and Lemon Cream

I don't know if you've seen the March cover of Woman's Day magazine, and even if you did you might not have seen what I saw because they did multiple covers apparently. I'm glad I saw this pasta dish staring at me while I was in the check-out at Publix. It looked beautiful and it tastes great. I've changed the ingredient proportions a bit and got six servings, along with salad. If I had served some grilled fish or chicken along side we might have been eating this for half a week. (Nobody in my house would have complained about that!)

I think, in fact, if you're looking for something with more protein, some flaked salmon or chicken might be a perfect addition to this dish, just add it in with the pasta and peas to finish together and come up to heat.

I love this combination of lemon, nutmeg and tarragon. I'm going to be experimenting a lot with this combination this is amazing food for the spring weather. YUM!

Creamy Pasta with Leeks, Peas and Parmesan
With a salad this will make enough for two meals.

1 lb orchiette pasta (I used croxetti but I think tortellini or mini-raviolis might work well, too)
1 lb bag frozen peas
1 lemon zest removed in wide strips and then sliced fine on the diagonal
2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 leeks or 4 large leeks, cut in quarters lengthwise, rinsed out and then sliced in 1/2” pieces
1.25 c. heavy cream
1/4 t. nutmeg (freshly ground is best)
2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped fine, plus more for garnish
1/4 c. grated parmesan

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare vegetables and set up a collander.

Sautee leeks in olive oil over medium heat, season with salt & pepper for 6-8 minutes.

Drop pasta in the water, check the packaging for suggested cooking time. You’ll want to remove the pasta about a minute before it’s finished and let it finish cooking in the sauce.

Add cream, lemon zest and nutmeg to the leeks. Bring to a boil and then simmer until thickened. Dip a measuring cup into the pasta water and transfer one cup’s worth into the pasta sauce (hang on I promise this works). Drain the pasta when it has about a minute left to go and then add it to the sauce along with the peas. Cook it all until the pasta is cooked and the sauce is the proper consistency. Give the dish one last toss with the grated cheese.

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