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Pasta with Creamed Leek and Spinach

Author Food and Wine Magazine 2010


  • 3/4 pound fusilli penne, ziti or other pasta
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups packed baby spinach 4 oz coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed basil leaves finely chopped
  • pinch of nutmeg optional
  • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • shaved Parmesan


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta al dente, drain, reserving a bit of the water for thinning sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the chopped leek and cook over moderate heat until softened about 10 minutes. Add the cream and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss over medium low heat until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Remove from heat and add the basil. Season with salt pepper and nutmeg if desired. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little bit of the warm pasta water to thin the sauce. Top with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Recipe Notes

-This is a creamy and rich dish, if you want to cut some of the calories, you may use half and half. The sauce will not be as thick, but the flavor will still be great.

-To shave the Parmesan cheese, simply lay the wedge of cheese on a cutting board and take a sharp knife and run it from the top to the bottom of the piece of cheese. The cheese will come off in large pieces.

-Great side to serve with chicken or fish.