I love how pasta can feed two people as easily as it can a crowd without expending much more effort. But what I love most, is how diverse pasta can be. There are so many different shapes, sauces, and vegetable combinations that can be tossed with the beloved noodle to create something different every time, and it's sure to always be a crowd-pleaser.
I used to only think of pasta in terms of spaghetti with marinara or lasagna, but in my own kitchen I started expanding my repertoire to include recipes with seasonal fresh veggies. Since tomato season is still a ways off, leeks and mushrooms make a great stand-in. I love these two vegetables cooked together, quickly sautéed with garlic and onion and finished off with the tangy brightness of lemon.
This combination tastes great on its own over toasted crusty bread and even mixed into risotto. This time I tried it with fresh whole-wheat fettucini noodles, although you can use any long thin noodle you like.
Make sure to clean your leeks well. Dirt and sand like to hide between each layer. I like to start by cutting off the ends and slicing down the middle. Then place them under cool running water, fanning out the layers to get between each one.
Lemony Leek and Mushroom Pasta
8 oz leeks, washed well and finely sliced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, ghee, or butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
Juice and zest of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Toasted and chopped walnuts for serving, optional
Chopped fresh parsley for serving, optional
1 lb fresh or dried whole-wheat fettucini noodles
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and when it's hot, but not smoking, toss in the leeks, mushrooms, garlic, and red onion. Toss to coat in the oil and continue to watch and stir frequently until everything begins to cook down and soften, about 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the lemon juice and zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Top with finely chopped walnuts and parsley, if using. Serve immediately.