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Spaghetti with Creamy Braised Garlic and Leeks

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.

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

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 650
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 220
  • Fat (g): 24
  • Saturated Fat (g): 12
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8
  • Cholesterol (mg): 60
  • Sodium (mg): 540
  • Carbohydrates (g): 87
  • Fiber (g): 6
  • Protein (g): 17


  • 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.


Rate or Review

Reviews (8 reviews)

  • mommasue | 07/26/2013

    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.

  • TriageTrish | 10/09/2012

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

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