This decadent dish is one of my absolute favourite pasta recipes and one that has been with me for a very long time. This recipe is adapted from a Sunday meal that my lovely nan used to make for the Amato family all the time and it really is something special.
I’ve never been one for ‘eating clean’ as it were, although I do try to balance my meals whenever I can. However, food for me is not only fuel but a way to cheer myself up if I’m feeling super stressed or a little down in the dumps.
Pasta with ham, leeks and cream is the one dish I go to when I need maximum comfort, as it reminds me of those Sunday dinners and is packed full of creamy, flavourful delights.
This is definitely not a clean eat, nor is it low calorie. It is, however, absolutely delicious and may just become your favourite go-to dish when you’re looking for something comforting and, well, a little bit naughty.
Best of all, this dish is so super duper quick and easy to make. You can cook the pasta whilst making the sauce as it requires very little cooking. A comforting dish that’s small on time but big on flavour.
Disclaimer: I will warn you now, this recipe calls for quite a large portion of pasta but that’s simply because I love big portions. If you don’t want to use as much, that’s fine, you’ll just end up with a saucier finish.
Ingredients (for two people)
- 1 tbsp butter or olive oil.
- 1 large leek, trimmed and sliced into chunky discs.
- 80g ham, cut into thin strips.
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped.
- 250g of dried pasta.
- 250ml of chicken or vegetable stock.
- 200ml double cream.
- 20g of freshly grated parmesan or grana padano.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
On a medium to low heat, warm up the butter or oil in a high sided frying pan. Next, add your leeks and fry for a minute until they are coated and starting to soften. Once coated, add the ham and garlic and fry off for another minute until the garlic has released all of its yummy flavour.
Next, place a pan of water on the boil and chuck in your pasta. The next part of the recipe can be finished off whilst your pasta is cooking. At this point, it’s also important to keep a close eye on the pan, as you don’t want the leeks or garlic to brown.
Whilst your pasta is bubbling away, add the hot stock to the leeks and turn up the heat to a light simmer. You’ll want to let this bubble until the leeks are nice and soft and the stock has almost completely disappeared, around 10 minutes should do it.
Once your stock has reduced, add the cream and leave to warm through for about 8-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened ever so slightly. Mix through parmesan and then check to see if any seasoning is required.
I tend to add a little cracked black pepper every time but it’s important not to add salt until you’ve tasted the dish, as the combination of the cheese and ham is often flavourful enough without the addition of extra salt.
Once your pasta is cooked al dente, quickly drain it, saving a small cup of the pasta water as you do. Add your pasta to the sauce immediately and if required, use a little of the saved water to loosen up the sauce whilst still keeping it creamy. Serve your pasta straight away in a big dish and if you like, add another helping of black pepper and parmesan – bellissimo!
There you have it. A rich, overly indulgent pasta dish that is guaranteed to give you a big, comforting hug when you need it the most. What’s your go-to comfort dish for when you’re feeling blue? Let me know in the comments!