Sunday, December 7, 2008


I used to improvise a lot for dinners, but one day Blake kindly told me that maybe I should make it a goal to use the recipes in my collection of cookbooks before I buy anymore, and now that I have the time, I follow recipes more and I do a lot less of the on-the-spot improvising. Well, tonight I realized at 6:30 that I was hungry and it was time for dinner and I didn't have things thawed or ready for my meals I had planned for the week, so I decided to just wing it with what was in the fridge, and to my surprise, I made a new favorite! It was so easy and so tasty, and it really surprised me how different my style has become since using other people's recipes more. I like it! I think I've really expanded my repertoire. Anyway, here's my simple improvisation dinner. Basically a combination of a bunch of things that were on sale this week:)

Mushroom and Leek pasta
serves 4~6
3~4 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 carrot, cut in half (and in quarters at the thickest parts) and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces, on the bias
1 medium leek, cleaned and sliced thin, discarding the green parts
1 8oz package of baby bella or white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lb pasta
finely grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese for serving
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, cook pasta to al dente, about 8 minutes. Reserve some pasta water, drain and set aside. (Do not rinse pasta)
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the carrots with 1/4 t salt for 5 or so minutes, or until they are tender-crisp. Add leeks and cook until softened.
  3. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a small skillet over medium heat until crisp. Reserve 1 T of bacon fat and discard the rest. Drain the bacon over paper towels and set aside.
  4. Add garlic to the leeks and carrots and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and 1 T reserved bacon fat and cook until softened.
  5. Add bacon and pasta to the pan and toss together. Use a little of the pasta water to loosen the sauce, if needed. Serve with freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese.


rebekah said...

i don't have a lot of experience with leeks. i bought some once but they went bad before i could think of anything to do with them.

Lillian said...

leeks are such a wonderful vegetable! A really nice alternative or accompaniment to onions. You should try them out in a quiche or with pasta. You'll love it!