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Tagliatelle with Leeks and Shrimp

This winner is from Lidia Bastianich, host of PBS’s “Lidia’s Italian Table” and author of the companion cookbook of the same name. If you’re tired of pasta with heavy sauces, take a look. Lidia uses a light chicken stock to complement sauteed leeks and shrimp.–David Leite

LC Lovely, Lovely Leeks Note

Ah, leeks. Lovely, lovely leeks. Despite all the grit and dirt they manage to hide within their pale layers, they’re the allium with the least amount of zing that’s easily coaxed to sweetness. If you’ve not yet cooked with them, we urge you to change that.

Tagliatelle with Leeks and Shrimp Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound tagliatelle
  • 2 large leeks
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter (optional)
  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for table
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  • 1. Bring 6 quarts water to a boil and add the 2 tablespoons salt.
  • 2. Add the tagliatelle to the boiling water, stirring with a wooden spoon. If the pasta is fresh, it will be done as soon as the water returns to a boil. Otherwise, boil for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the tagliatelle sit for the remaining cooking time specified on package.
  • 3. Trim the root ends from the leeks and discard the tough green portions (roughly the top 1/3). Slice the remaining pale green and white portions of the leeks into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and rinse in several changes of cold water to remove the soil and grit. Drain well.
  • 4. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toss in the shrimp and quickly sear them for 2 minutes. The shrimp will be almost but not quite cooked through. Transfer the shrimp to a plate.
  • 5. In the sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. You may need to reduce the heat to medium if the leeks are turning brown. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the butter and stock and simmer gently for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and simmer an additional minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 6. Drain the pasta well and return it to the pot or transfer it to a serving dish. Add the leek and shrimp sauce and gently toss to coat the pasta. Sprinkle with the Pecorino Romano cheese, toss well, and serve with plenty of additional Pecorino passed on the side.
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