A pasta dish with leeks and shrimp, at any tem­per­a­ture

The Denver Post - - FEATURES - By Bon­nie S. Benwick Deb Lind­sey, Spe­cial to The Wash­ing­ton Post

I ad­vo­cate this week on be­half of sum­mer leeks, which tend to get over­looked at the farm­ers mar­ket. They are milder in fla­vor than their win­ter-har­vest ilk and saute eas­ily into the kind of sa­vory, slip-slid­ing mix-in that makes this pasta dish such a happy jumble.

Even with its thin­ner pro­file, the sum­mer leek still needs the same care and at­ten­tion to rid its many lay­ers of grit. Be­cause we’re slic­ing them into thin rounds, it’s best to drop them into a bowl of cold water with ice cubes and let them sit for a few min­utes, dur­ing which time the grit will fall to the bot­tom. Then, use a slot­ted spoon to lift them out of the water — don’t tip the bowl and drain or the grit will be rein­tro­duced. If a few ice cubes go into the pan, that’s okay.

For this recipe, be sure to look for dried fet­tuc­cine pack­aged in cello bags — the noo­dles will be eggy and del­i­cate-look­ing, not the straight and wider dried fet­tuc­cine in a box. They will cook quicker and in­sin­u­ate them- selves so well with the saucy leeks, shrimp and al­monds.

The dish is light-tast­ing. Even though it’s pegged at four to six serv­ings, if you don’t have that many plates to fill, I rec­om­mend mak­ing the batch as is for left­overs the next day. Just add a hand­ful of chopped fresh tomato or av­o­cado cubes, a splash of white wine vine­gar and/or olive oil for Round Two, served cool or at room tem­per­a­ture. 4 to 6 serv­ings, Healthy

Serve with a salad of shaved fen­nel. The dried fet­tuc­cine that works best here is the crinkly kind that’s avail­able in most su­per­mar­kets, typ­i­cally pack­aged in a cel­lo­phane bag.

Adapted from “In a Nut­shell: Cook­ing and Bak­ing With Nuts and Seeds,” by Cara Tan­nen­baum and An­drea Tu­tun­jian (W.W. Nor­ton, 2014). In­gre­di­ents

3 medium or 4 thin leeks

1 tea­spoon kosher salt, plus more as


8 ounces dried fet­tuc­cine 2 cloves gar­lic

Leaves from 4 stems flat-leaf pars­ley ½ cup sliced al­monds

2 ta­ble­spoons olive oil

1 pound large peeled/de­veined shrimp

(no tail shells)

¾ cup dry white wine

¾ cup no-salt-added chicken broth ½ tea­spoon freshly ground black

pep­per, or more as needed 2 ta­ble­spoons un­salted but­ter

½ lemon Di­rec­tions

Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Fill a mix­ing bowl with water and ice cubes.

Trim the leeks (dis­card­ing dark greens and root ends) and split them in half length­wise. Cut cross­wise into thin slices, then trans­fer to the ice water bath and let soak for 10 min­utes.

Add a good pinch of the salt to the boil­ing water, then add the pasta. Cook for about 3 min­utes, or just un­til al dente. Drain the pasta in a colan­der in the sink.

Mean­while, mince the gar­lic. Chop the pars­ley leaves.

Heat a large skil­let over medi­um­low heat; add the al­monds and toast for a few min­utes, un­til fra­grant and lightly browned. Trans­fer to a pa­per towel to cool.

Add the oil to the skil­let; in­crease the heat to medium. Once the oil shim­mers, use a slot­ted spat­ula to lift the leeks out of their ice-water bath and trans­fer them to the skil­let; do not tip and drain the leeks, to avoid rein­tro­duc­ing any grit.

Add the gar­lic to the skil­let, stir­ring to coat. Cook for about 5 min­utes, un­til the leeks are fra­grant and be­gin­ning to soften.

Toss in the shrimp and cook for about 2 min­utes, then pour in the wine and broth. Sea­son with the salt and pep­per, then cook for about 5 more min­utes. Add the but­ter and pars­ley, stir­ring un­til the but­ter has melted. Squeeze in the juice from the lemon half.

Trans­fer the fet­tuc­cine to the skil­let and turn off the heat; toss to coat and in­cor­po­rate the sauce and shrimp. Taste and add salt and/or pep­per, as needed.

Serve warm.

Nu­tri­tion | Per serv­ing (based on 6): 320 calo­ries, 23 g pro­tein, 33 g car­bo­hy­drates, 9 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 150 mg choles­terol, 340 mg sodium, 3 g di­etary fiber, 2 g sugar

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