Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bow Ties with Sausage and Leek Sauce

.I had a backlog of leeks in the refrigerator and needed to clear space for other produce that's being harvested. To that end, I made a leek tart and a large batch of potato soup that was destined for the freezer and fall lunches. There were still, however, several large leeks that had to be dealt with. A quick search took me to the recipe that I'm featuring today. I am a huge fan of Lidia Bastanich and have nothing but good things to say about the food she prepares. This recipe is one she developed and I'm happy to report that those who follow it will have a pasta that's delicious, inexpensive and easy to make. The original recipe comes from her book Lidia's Italian Table which can be found here. This dish appealed to me on several levels. We are trying to eliminate some of the meat in our diet, and while the dish is not vegetarian, it uses far less meat than is found in most pasta sauces. While strongly flavored, it is also very light do to the absence of cream or a tomato base. The flavor of leeks dominates the other ingredients in the dish. I do not recommend using onions in their stead. The leeks add a sweetness that is missing in onions and they would really change the nature of this dish. I know those of you who try this will like it. Here's my version of the recipe.

Bow Ties with Sausage and Leek Sauce


6 quarts salted water

2 large leeks (about 1 pound)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 sweet Italian sausages (about 6 ounces), casing removed

1 tablespoon minced shallots

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use

1 cup young peas, blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes, or defrosted and drained frozen baby peas

1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth

Salt and freshly ground pepper

12 ounces bow-tie pasta (farfalle)

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigian-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving, if you like


1) Bring salted water to a boil. Cover pot to speed up the boiling time.

2) Meanwhile, prepare leeks: Cut off and discard top third of rough green portion and root ends. Remove any brown or wilted outer layers. Slice remaining green and white parts into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Rinse leek slices in several changes of cold water, swishing them around to remove all soil and grit.

3) In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Crumble sausage meat into skillet and cook, breaking up lumps, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add leeks to skillet and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, peas and stock. Heat to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, cover skillet, and set aside.

4) While sauce simmers, stir bow ties into boiling water. When water returns to a boil, uncover pot. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente (tender, but firm), about 12 minutes. Drain bow ties well and return them to pot over low heat.

5) Add sausage and leek sauce to the pasta and toss well until pasta is coated. Remove pot from heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and grated cheese. Toss well. Serve immediately, passing additional grated cheese if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

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