Pasta with Creamy Leek Sauce and Walnuts

We tried Marley Spoon again for a couple of weeks but in the end postponed it again as the recipes we chose were generally not a success. However, this one was pretty darn good!

The creamy mustard sauce really worked well with the leeks and the walnuts did give the dish some texture. Personally, I am not too fond of walnuts as they tend to be quite dry, even if roasted. I’d substitute them with pecans next time.

As always, the Marley Spoon timing of 45 minutes proved ambitious, but less far off than the other recipes we tried this time around. You should be able to pull this one off within the hour.

I did tweak the quantities from their recipe quite a bit, to make it less heavy (crème fraîche), salty (stock cubes) and tangy (lemon juice). Below is my version of the recipe which serves 4 persons.

The recipe 

  • 50g walnuts
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 leeks, trimmed, use white parts only
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • a bunch of fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 40g /2 tbsp mustard (grain of French)
  • 80g / 2.5oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 150g / 5oz tub of crème fraîche
  • 1 vegetable stock cube (for 500ml  / 2 cups of stock)
  • 400g / 14oz caserecce pasta (or fusilli type of pasta)
  1. Heat a large frying pan on medium-high. Without adding any oil, toast the walnuts in a couple of minutes until golden, stirring occasionally. Once cooled, chop roughly.
  2. Cut the lemon in two; then juice one half and slice the other and keep for serving.
  3. In a medium pan bring about 2 liters / 8 cups of water to a boil to cook the pasta.
  4. In the meantime, fill a large bowl with cold water. Cut the leeks lengthways, rinse thoroughly to remove any sand. Then cut into 1cm/1/2″ ribbons and place in the bowl until ready to use.
  5. Heat the large frying pan on medium-high with 2 tbsp of vegetable oil until quite hot. Drain the leeks in a colander and put them in the pan with a pinch of salt, lower the heat and cook for 10-15 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally.
  6. In the meantime, add 1/2 tsp of salt into the boiling water, stir in the pasta and cool until al dente in about 10-12 minutes.
  7. Once the leeks are almost done, drain the pasta and return to its pan to keep warm.
  8. Put the pan with the leeks on the lowest heat and add the majority of chopped walnuts (reserving the rest for serving), thyme, mustard, crème fraîche, 2 tbsp of lemon juice and half the parmesan and stir until fully combined. Then add the stock cube and 75ml / 1/3 cup of water, turn up the heat again and let it cook for 2-3 minutes to get a creamy sauce.
  9. Mix in the cooked pasta, season to taste. If the sauce is a bit too thick to your liking, simply stir in 1 or 2 tablespoons of water.
  10. Serve the pasta with the remaining Parmesan cheese and chopped walnuts and squeeze over the reserves lemon slices (optional)

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