Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pasta with Leeks and White Wine

We've been making this dish in my family for years, but the original version was extremely calorific so I stopped making it. I finally attempted a slimmed-down version and it turned out brilliantly, even better than the original I daresay! Using whole-wheat pasta instead of white makes it earthier, more sustaining, and tastier in my opinion. The leeks add volume and a strongly aromatic element, balanced by the savory flavours of the chicken broth, wine, and parmesan. Instead of using reduced whipping cream to make a heavy cream sauce, I kept it a clear sauce with just a touch of flour to thicken, and a few spoonfuls of light cream cheese to add a velvety creaminess.

Pasta with Leeks and White Wine

4 oz(112g) whole wheat spagetti or spagettini or fettucine
olive oil cooking spray
1 leek, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3/4C reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4C dry white wine
1 Tbsp flour, any kind but multigrain
3 Tbsp low-fat cream cheese
1/4C finely grated parmesan or romano cheese
fresh ground mixed peppercorns (green, red, white, and black)

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and cook according to directions for al dente pasta.

In the meantime, heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Add the leeks and garlic and saute until the leeks are slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add in the broth and wine and simmer on medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half. Mix the flour in a small bowl with a little broth until smooth and add to leeks, stirring to incorporate, and simmer for another 5 minutes to thicken sauce. Add the cream cheese, then the grated cheese, stirring well after each addition. The sauce should be smooth under all the leeks, though the leeks do a good job of hiding any lumps if that happens! Toss in the pasta and season liberally with the fresh ground pepper. Serve immediately.

This makes two generous servings. A good thing to serve it with is a nice roasted chicken breast and green salad. You could even add the chicken right to the pasta for a main dish pasta. Yum!

Nutritional values (per half recipe): 368 cals, 9g fat, 18g protein, 52g carbs, 6g fibre, 550mg sodium.


  1. Okay, I am definitely going to try this one - it looks delicious! I confess I have never bought leeks before! Shocking, I know.

  2. They are really really dirty on the inside, so make sure you clean between the layers thoroughly. I slice it in half end-to-end and rinse in the creases, but another probably better method is to cut it up and then wash the sliced bits in a big bowl, allowing the dirt and sand to fall to the bottom, like with spinach.

    Dirty, dirty leeks ;)