Some words from Mr. Bittman about Pasta with Rich Leek Pesto*:
"It's worth noting that 'pesto' means 'paste; and comes from the same root as 'pestle'-- as in 'mortar and...' Since pasta also comes from that root, you might describe this recipe as Rich Leek Paste Tossed with Paste. But with a thick, custardy texture that's a lot like a carbonara or cream sauce, it's much better than that, I promise."
I really like leeks, and I love seeing them in the stores in the spring. I had some fancy pasta to use up (thanks, Emmel, preesh) so I made the leek pesto for dinner last night.
I started by sauteeing my leeks and garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat. Once they were very soft (after about 30 minutes), I added them to the food processor, along with parsley, an egg, and some salt and pepper. I processed until it looked like paste, and then returned the mixture to my skillet. I tossed it with cooked pasta and some cooking water, and then I sprinkled on some nutritional yeast (hey nooch! I still like you!).
This leek pesto? Amazing. It is creamy and rich, just as promised. I thinned mine with more pasta water than recommended, because the leek puree was quite thick.
EDW said you could instantly taste the flavors of this sauce: "it's not easy mac." I'm still not really sure what that means, but I can tell you we both had seconds of the pasta. It tastes pretty decadent, actually, and not really anything like traditional basil pesto. We really enjoyed our leek paste, and I can't wait for leftovers at lunch. I'll make this again.
Bittman, Mark. The Food Matters Cookbook. "Pasta with Rich Leek 'Pesto'." p. 220
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