Not too shabby, huh?
Here we are on the other side of winter and my darling leeks are still looking good. I might grow leeks even if I didn't enjoy the taste of them -- just so I could pick something out of my New England garden in March.
I used these in a quick pasta dish last night.
Victor raved about it. He kept asking "What's in this?!" I'm not sure why he loved this more than usual (he loves pasta!) but finally I told him
that it was an "Ancient Chinese Secret".
Benjamin's ears perked up "A what? An Agent of Chinese Secrets?!" as if I had the key. Very funny. Well, since it got such rave reviews I'll tell you what I did. Really this is the basic recipe for Pasta Primavera, but I decided to keep everything green. Using leeks, asparagus (soon I'll asparagus from my own garden!) and peas.
You'll need: Garlic 5-6 cloves, 3 leeks, bunch asparagus, cup or so of frozen peas, 1/2 cup or so of white wine, juice from 1/2 a lemon, a good pile (1-2 cups - I use a fine grater, so it's very fluffy) of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (the real stuff), salt and lots of freshly ground pepper. If you have fresh Italian parsley, that would be fabulous -- I didn't have any. Sniff.
Put a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Salt the pasta water with 1 T of salt.
Put a large saute pan with tall sides on the stove and drizzle olive oil all over the bottom of the pan. Put the burner on low. to heat up the olive oil.
Meanwhile, rinse your leeks well. Cut them in half lengthwise, then chop them into about 1/8" wide slices. Rinse the leeks again in a colander. (Trust me, it's worth it. Otherwise your whole recipe could taste like grit.) Throw the leeks into the prepared pan with olive oil. Turn the burner up to medium low.
Chop or press your garlic and throw into the pan along with the leeks.
Sprinkle about 1 t of salt on the garlic and leeks and as much pepper as you have the patience to grind (or to taste).
Chop your asparagus into 1 1/4" long pieces - cutting on the diagonal to make it pretty. Put to the side.
When your water is boiling, throw in 1 to 3/4 of a pound of linguine pasta. Cook the pasta al dente because you will be cooking it a little more in the skillet afterwards to get the sauce to cling to the pasta.
At this point, turn your skillet burner up on medium high, throw in the asparagus and 1+ cup frozen peas. Toss from time to time and cook until they are bright green.
Pour the lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon (the zest would be nice too!), and 1/2 cup white wine into the skillet. Keep the heat up on medium high and let the liquid reduce.
Add a ladle full of the pasta water into the skillet (the starches will make the sauce stick to the pasta).
When your pasta is done, pull it out of the pan with tongs and put into the skillet. Don't rinse the pasta. Save the pasta water as you'll use it when the sauce gets too dry.
Toss the pasta with the veggies / sauce, coating the pasta. Drizzle more olive oil on the pasta (don't be shy, olive oil is very good for you and reduces bad cholesterol). Add in another ladle full of pasta water if your sauce is looking dry.
Throw in 1 cup of grated parm cheese. If you have fresh Italian parsley, now is the time to throw it in. Toss with the pasta / veggies.
Taste. Add more salt or pepper if needed. (It probably will be.)
Serve. Top individual servings with the remaining grated parm cheese.