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Spaghetti with Creamy Braised Garlic and Leeks

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Serves four.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 104

Braising the garlic in this recipe takes away some of its punch, rendering it sweet and ultratender.

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 medium leeks (light-green and white parts only), halved and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (10 cups)
  • 10 medium cloves garlic, halved
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 12 oz. dried spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 oz. grated Pecorino Romano (1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat the butter and oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the butter has melted. Add the leeks, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring often, until the leeks begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and press a 12-inch round piece of parchment over the leek mixture to cover completely (see the Test Kitchen blog for more on this technique). Cover the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally (you will have to lift the parchment), until the leeks are very soft but not falling apart and the garlic is very soft, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Uncover the skillet and remove the parchment. Stir in the cream and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss. If necessary, add the reserved pasta water 1 Tbs. at a time to make a silky sauce that clings to the pasta.

Off the heat, stir in the cheese and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 650; Fat (g): fat g 24; Fat Calories (kcal): 220; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 12; Protein (g): protein g 17; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 87; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 540; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 60; Fiber (g): fiber g 6;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made this when it was first published--fabulous. Yesterday, I used my slow cooker to make this--followed the recipe, added to the cooker after adding the broth and raising to a simmer;3 hours on low (yes I did the parchment cover in the cooker)and the added the cream, etc. after the 3 hours. Was absolutely perfect, just in case anyone is interested in a slow cooker hack for this recipe.

Wonderful recipe. Followed recipe exactly... well we did add some leftover grilled mild Italian Sausage and it was out of the ballpark!

Delicious. I did add 1/2 cup of toasted walnuts. I will make this dish again.

Absolutely delicious! Followed recipe exactly and the whole family loved it.

I made this tonight and it was fantastic! Really garlicy, creamy and the leeks add like a mellow onion flavor. Mmm...sooo good. I've never braised anything before - it did make all the flavors meld together really well. Worth the 40 minutes.

I used broccoli instead of leeks and it was absolutely incredible! The garlic was so savory and almost sweet after braising. Definitely a repeat recipe, but this time, more garlic!

absolutly dreamy, yummy - will cook again - I sliced the garlic instead of halfing them - other than that I followed the recipe

We loved this. Didn't have any wine, made up with stock, and used rotini instead. It was very flavorful and creamy. I would use a bit more garlic cloves. Will definitely be making this again. Might try adding some white beans next time for a bit more texture.

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