Whole Wheat Linguine with Leeks and Parsley

If you’ve been here a while, you know that as much as I love  playing with new and unusual ingredients, I also can’t make too big a production about things most days. While I do try to cook my meals “from scratch,” I don’t take that to mean anything onerous.  Nope–I need something simple that I can pull together quickly.  Arrive home, get it started, play with my kids and put them to bed, then finish up my dinner and eat.  At times I have to log back into work after that.

So a big meal with lots of fanfare isn’t going to happen most nights.  Since I’m usually just cooking for myself, who do I have to impress? If just myself, then good enough.

There can be a lot of exaggeration in food websites when we try to convey the tastes and aromas of a dish through words, or cajole a reader to trust some random amorphous blogger with feeding their family.  And with that, while I’m not going so far as to call it full-contact food blogging (something like my family’s “full contact Jeopardy” screenings), you can sometimes get the feeling that every dish you read about is the non plus ultra, the dish that will change your life, the meal you must eat for your life to have meaning.

Whole Wheat Linguine with Leeks and Parsley (3 of 3)

So even though I’ve been making this dish for ages, I’ve never actually written it up.  It was just too everyday, run of the mill I thought.  You know, just another pasta recipe.  And all you do is saute leeks with a few other ingredients and mix with pasta.  And the coup de grace is nothing more than tossing a big ol’ handful of chopped fresh parsley on top.  Yes, parsley.  Not freshly picked  basil or oregano or French tarragon, but boring old parsley–so pedestrian that it was abundant even when no one was telling you that using dried herbs was anathema.

So, maybe this doesn’t qualify under Generally Accepted Blogging Principles as “Blog-Worthy,” but it’s a real lifesaver for me sometimes–if I have too many leeks that are starting to lose their perkiness (seems to happen a lot), if I just need something I can throw together quickly without too much effort (mental or otherwise), or if I just want a clean, bright pasta dish that’s not too heavy.

And it works together well:  I love how the silky leeks and the astringent parsley blend with whole wheat pasta.  You actually want to use whole wheat pasta because, for whatever reason, it tastes so much better than regular pasta here.  I’ll admit I usually reach for the regular refined stuff, and the fact that I don’t want to is just one more plus about this combination.

Fast, easy, and I even get to feel virtuous.   I guess I did impress myself.

Whole Wheat Linguine with Leeks and Parsley (2 of 3)

Whole Wheat Linguine with Leeks and Parsley adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything

  • 4-6 medium leeks
  • 3T butter or olive oil
  • 2 dried chiles, or 1/2t (or more) chile flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3/4lb (or amount desired) whole wheat linguine
Cut each leek almost in half lengthwise, leaving the root intact.  Fan the halves open and wash under running water to remove any sand.  Slice the washed halves crosswise (slices about 1/4″ thick) to roughly chop.
Set a pot of water to bring to a boil.
Heat the olive oil or butter over medium low.  Add the chile and saute for one minute, then add the leeks.  When the leeks have begun to color (about five minutes) add the minced garlic.  Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the leeks are soft.  Cook the leeks over gentle heat, their mellow flavor is best if you don’t allow them to crisp.
While the leeks are cooking, chop your parsley.
Cook the linguine and drain.  Once the leeks are done, remove the chiles and stir the leek mixture together with the pasta.  Right before serving, stir in the parsley.    (You might want to add more freshly ground pepper which complements the flavors nicely).
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9 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Linguine with Leeks and Parsley

  1. Hi, Sara–the linguini looks and sounds appealing. As a blogger whose food often leans more toward the weekend than week nights, I have to say that dishes like this one–mine is spaghetti with evoo and garlic–are what make more complicated cooking possible. Cooking is a rhythm, sometimes it’s simple, sometimes it’s complex–and all of need the simple most of the time. I think it’s great that you’re willing to cook even when it’s just for yourself. Ken

  2. Pingback: Whole Wheat Linguine with Leeks and Parsley | Three Clever Sisters « akonefipa

  3. Oh heavens this looks simply divine! Sometimes I get overwhelmed by HTCE, but then when I discover a recipe like this I remember why it’s a classic–and one of my favorite cookbooks!

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