I've got a fantastic crop of leeks this year. Often my leeks don't get very big, and i keep waiting for them to get bigger, then before i know it they've gone to seed on me. This year i decided the solution was to plant loads of them, so that if they stayed small i would have plenty anyway. This season not only do i have lots of leeks, but many of them have reached a very respectable size. I think i managed to finally plant them at the right time of year - mid September i planted out three punnets of leek seedlings from Mitre 10.
If you have lots of leeks yourself, rest assured i shall be doing my best to try out many leek recipes this season, and will publish as many as possible.
This is a Jamie Oliver recipe - one of the husband's favourites (i admit to never having made it myself - but i do enjoy eating it!). The first time he made it, we did not have a pasta maker, and made all the pasta by hand, using a rolling pin. That was remarkably successful, but the pasta-maker does make it a lot easier to get nice thin sheets for cutting.
The meal in the picture below was made by the husband; he used the fettuccine cutter to make his pasta ribbons, however i quite like this dish made with really wide (3-4 centimetre) hand-cut ribbons as well.
Jamie says to use medium/smaller leeks for this recipe as they are sweeter, more tender, and nicer to eat.
PASTA WITH SWEET LEEKS and MASCARPONE
From Jamie Oliver's 'The Naked Chef'
1 small knob of butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced at an angle
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200 g mascarpone
455 g fettuccine or pappardelle
1 handful of Parmesan cheese
Put the butter and olive oil into a semi-hot, thick bottomed pan, add the leeks and garlic, with a pinch of salt, and gently sweat, without colouring, for about 5 to 10 minutes with a lid on, until the leeks are soft and sweet. Add the mascarpone. Let this gently melt into the leeks, creating a semi-thick sauce. Taste for seasoning.
Meanwhile cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente. Toss gently in the sauce (if it seems slightly thick, add a little of the cooking water from the pasta). The sauce should perfectly coat the pasta. Serve sprinkled generously with coarsely grated Parmesan