This is one of my favourite comforting cold weather suppers. Definitely hearty and full of flavour. A favourite with most of our guests!
I love leeks and so do the British (so this whole arrangement works out really well) and I can buy cheap leeks whenever I want at the grocery. This is a dish and preparation that really showcases the sweetness and buttery interior texture of the leeks. I cook the whole thing on the stovetop because I lack a grill or BBQ here, but it can definitely be done other ways.
Leek and Steak Pasta (Serves 4)
- 2 decent grilling steaks
- olive oil
- salt and fresh pepper to take
- 12 oz penne
- 4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
- 4-6 leeks, cleaned and sliced in half and then into 2-3 inch chunks
- 3-5 cloves garlic crushed and skinned
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp butter
For the sauce:
- 2 oz (50 g) butter
- 2 oz (50 g) plain flour
- 1½ pints (850 ml) milk
- 6 oz (175 g) good Cheddar cheese, grated
- 3 fl oz (75 ml) cream
- freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and freshly milled black pepper
- Heat a large frying pan over high heat with some olive oil. Dry steaks well, rub with a clove of crushed garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add steaks to pan and cook until rare-medium rare (or however you like it done, preferably not grey and stringy). Don’t fuss over the steaks too much, leave them be! Just flip them after a couple of minutes and do the other side. Remove from heat, tent with foil and let sit.
- Put on a pot of water (with some salt!) to boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente.
- In the same pan, turn down the heat to medium-high and add the bacon. Cook for a couple of minutes until starting to crisp and then add the leeks, cut side down.
- Add the cloves of garlic, sugar, vinegar and butter. Swirl the pan and let the leeks caramelise a bit. Turn them over (they will break apart) and continue to cook until tender.
- While the leeks and pasta are cooking start the sauce. Melt the butter in another saucepan and add the flour. Stir and cook a bit, but do not let the mixture to brown. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. Add the cheese, cream and nutmeg and stir until the cheese is melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the pasta with the sauce and the leeks. Slice steak and lay overtop. Serve!
(I also add blistered cherry tomatoes to this at times which is delicious!)