Friday, March 5, 2010

Bacon and Leek Spaghetti

This is a very simple, flavorful recipe that is great for using up all the wild leeks that seem to grow around here. They really are more like a scallion then a leek and are called Ramps. Ramps have a red cast to them but the onion flavor is still there. They grow all over the place in my area and start showing up in late spring. In the fall and winter time when I can't go into my back yard and pull some up, I purchase the leeks that everyone is used too right at my grocery store. Leeks have a sweet, oniony flavor and can be used in several dishes. They should be firm, with dark green leaves and the medium ones (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter) have the best flavor. Leeks need to be washed very well because of the way they grow, the soil and sand gets trapped in between each of the layers. To clean them, cut off the dark green tops and remove the tough outer leaves. Slice them down the middle and rinse well under water. You can also slice them into half moons and place in a large bowl, full of cold water. Agitate them with your hands a bit to help loosen the dirt and then just let them sit for about 10 minutes so that all the dirt falls to the bottom of the bowl. Then just carefully remove the leeks without stirring up the water, and they'll be ready to go!

What You Need:

3 leeks, sliced in half moons and cleaned
2 tbs olive oil
5-6 slices of bacon, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper
1 (28oz can) crushed tomatoes
A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 lb spaghetti
Grated Parmesan Cheese

What To Do:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

In a deep skillet over medium high heat, cook the bacon in the olive oil until crisp. Add in the garlic and leeks and cook for a few minutes to soften and bring out their flavor.

Season with some salt and pepper and add in the can of tomatoes. Give it a stir and let simmer over low heat while you cook the pasta. This lets the sauce thicken. Once the pasta is done, add the parley into the sauce and then toss it all with the spaghetti.
Serve with more chopped parsley on to and a good handful of grated parmesan cheese sprinkled over it. Make sure to have some nice crusty bread to mop up the sauce and serve it with a nice garden salad.

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