CLASSIC pasta spaghetti with leeks, shallots and red onion








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One of the simplest yet very thorough books on pasta came from the publisher Dorling Kindersley in the early nineties. The author was Giuliano Hazan, son of Marcella, and a superb cook and teacher in his own right. Unfathomably, the book, The Classic Pasta Cook Book, is out of print but one can find it on the used book market.

Here is a recipe we have adapted from Giuliano's book: easy to do, with great flavor and texture.

for the sauce:

  • two leeks
  • three medium red onions
  • five tablespoons (one-half cup) diced shallots
  • one clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • two slices of bacon
  • one quarter cup olive oil
  • one quarter cup white wine
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • two tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • one half cup parmesan

for the pasta:

  • one pound spaghetti

Cut the bacon into small strips, about a half inch long and a quarter inch wide. (Pancetta can be substituted here).

Halve the onions and then cut them into thin slices.

Trim off the bottom and the top green part of the leeks. Cut the leeks down the middle the long way. Then slice each half-round into very thin discs.

In a saute pan cook the bacon over a medium heat short of crisp. Remove, set aside and clean the pan.

Put the olive oil, the garlic and the shallots into the saute pan. Cook over medium heat until the shallots are soft.

Add the onions and the leeks; stir. Add a teaspoon of salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Add one-quarter cup of water. Cover and cook over a medium-low heat for fifteen minutes, until the onion and leeks are very soft.

In five quarts of water at a raging boil, add two teaspoons of salt, and the spaghetti. Cook until al dente. Set aside one quarter cup of the pasta liquid. Drain.

At the time you put the spaghetti in the boiling water, finish the sauce. Remove the cover from the saute pan, add the cooked bacon and the parsley. Add the wine and cook until the liquid is gone. Set aside.

When the pasta is al dente, drain it, keeping the moisture clinging to the strands.

Re-heat the sauce. Add in the spaghetti and stir. If too dry add some of the reserved pasta liquid. Add the parmesan and stir again.

Serve immediately topped with the last of the parsley.



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