Pasta Shells with Melted Leeks

Pasta Shells with Melted Leeks 15

So anyways, a simple post for a simple (but elegant!) pasta recipe. It feeds two, but can easily be halved or doubled. The recipe was born on one of those lazy days when I didn’t want to go to the grocery store, and instead put together a meal out of the bits in my kitchen. I really liked it, and have made a few times since. What makes it nice is how the leeks turn into a lovely creamy tangle that nestle into the shells. The leeks are the star, the peas add a complimentary sweet note, the pepper adds a bit of fire, and the herbs add some freshness. This is a dish worth trying, especially as we slide toward fall, and leeks become more tender and melt-y.


Pasta Shells with Melted Leeks 2


Pasta Shells with Melted Leeks
1 1/2 cups of pasta shells
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp each freshly grated nutmeg and ground black pepper
3 cups of minced leeks (cut into quarters lengthwise, then sliced 1/4 inch thick)
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
2 tbsp minced chives
3 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
2 – 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts/sliced almonds (I forgot to add this time)
To Serve: additional black pepper, Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to instructions on the package. Approximately two minutes before pasta is finished, add the peas to the pasta pot. Drain when pasta is cooked and al dente.
While the pasta cooks, start preparing the leek mixture. Melt the butter in a saucepan, over medium heat. Add nutmeg and pepper. Stir, then add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes (or until the raw garlic smell is gone). Add the leeks, lemon juice, and salt. Cook the mixture until the leeks break down. This should take about 15 – 20 minutes (depending on how tender your leeks are). Add the cream, cook for about three minutes. Add the chives.
Combine the pasta, peas and leek mixture. Add the parsley and stir to incorporate. Top with pine nuts/almonds. Serve warm, with additional pepper and Parmesan cheese.

  1. “those lazy days when I didn’t want to go to the grocery store and put together a meal out of the bits in my kitchen”

    these are my everydays lately and maaaaan do I know what you mean. this looks yum!

  2. Emma,

    An absolutely lovely recipe with the best ingredients (the best dishes are with what you have left in the fridge quite often). I love leeks and with that splash of cream I can only imagine how sweet and rich it is.

  3. Jessie,

    I love the idea of leeks as a “creamy tangle” – your recipe looks delicious! What a fun recipe to come out of pulling together what you had :)

  4. This is exactly how I make pasta sauces, using what is in my fridge! I know I will love this recipe as I adore leeks :)

  5. Oh……I just adore leeks. They don’t get used often enough! What a wonderful dish, just lovely.

  6. Deb,

    A stellar recipe with outstanding flavor! Rather than shopping again, I have found that some of the best recipes are developed using what we already have. Using up veggies before they are past their prime is so rewarding and reduces the food we all tend to waste.

  7. Monica,

    This truly looks incredible. I love the leeks, the touch of cream and the green color from the peas and herbs. Looks great and tastes wonderful, I’m sure.

  8. Marcie,

    The simplest recipes are the best, and this pasta dish looks so delicious! It’s right up my alley — I love caramelized leeks, peas, and the herbs. This has such clean, fresh flavors…love it!

  9. This pasta sounds so good, comforting and light at the same time with the luscious melted leeks. Yum!

  10. Juliana,

    This pasta dish looks so pretty and elegant Joyti…like the leek and yes, cream…yum!
    Have a wonderful week dear :D

  11. Oh Joyti, I really really love your photos. They are fantastic.
    Your recipe is also fit for the queen on a lazy weekday.

  12. mjskit,

    I’ve never heard the term “melted leeks” but it is a great term for long cooked leeks. They do break down and just melt in your mouth. We love leeks and cook them quite a bit, so I’m pinning this for a dinner in the near future. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Kathryn,

    Leeks are my very favourite and this looks like a wonderful way to celebrate and enjoy them. Perfect in its simplicity.

  14. I LOVE leeks! I use it in my cooking as much as I could. Your pasta looks so delicious. I wish I had leeks in the fridge then it would be my last minute lunch option for today… I have to plan to try this out!

  15. Cailee,

    YUM! This is so delicious looking!! Healthy, simple and oh-so elegant!! Great recipe!! Beautiful pictures btw!

  16. Lyddiegal,

    I’ve never really cooked with leeks much, but the way you have described them makes me want to run out and try them right now!

  17. Monet,

    A gorgeous bowl of pasta with a gorgeous title…I just love the sound of “melted leeks”. I can’t wait to try this!

  18. What a beautiful pasta dish! Melted leeks it is for me then this weekend.

  19. This reminds me of a leek pasta dish I made years ago. There wasn’t any peas but pancetta. I remember the melted leeks and how wonderful it turned out. However, for some reason I have totally forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder. Totally making your recipe soon cause don’t we all know those days when we’re too lazy to go to the grocery store AND stand in the kitchen for more than 15 minutes.

  20. Suzanne,

    While the leeks at
    the market look really
    beautiful, I’m never
    quite certain what to
    do with them, so thank
    you for this! My pasta-
    loving daughter would love
    to try this before returning
    to school…

    xo Suzanne

  21. Sophie,

    This is an awesome dish! Must appear on our dinner table asap. I love your blog, I just found it. Gorgeous photos, lovely vegetarian food. Bravo, dear!

    • Sophie,

      I made this over the weekend and I loved every bite! So happy I stumbled upon this :) Simple, tons of flavor. Yum!

Leave a Comment