Shrimp and leek pasta is easy and elegant and on the table in 30 minutes. And it comes together with just fresh or frozen shrimp, broth, pasta ribbons such as tagliatelle or fettuccine, and Pecorino Romano cheese. A favorite of David and The One.
This shrimp and leek pasta 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 sautéed leeks and shrimp.–David Leite
Shrimp and Leek Pasta
- 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 (1/2-ounce) tablespoons 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
- Bring 6 quarts water to a boil and add the 2 tablespoons salt.
- 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, turn off the heat, and let the tagliatelle sit for the remaining time specified on the package.
- Meanwhile, 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 any grit. Rinse and drain well.
- In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toss in the shrimp and quickly cook, stirring only occasionally, for 2 minutes. The shrimp will be almost but not quite cooked through. Transfer the shrimp to a plate.
- In the sauté pan, heat the remaining 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.
- Drain the pasta well and return it to the pot or transfer it to a serving dish. Add the shrimp and leek 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.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This shrimp and leek pasta is simple and delicious. A very quick and easy recipe for a weeknight meal.
I don’t have small children around, but my daughter would have loved this dish as a child. The light sauce also makes it a great choice for spring and summer.
One pound of pasta seemed to be too much as we really liked the sauce. I would definitely halve the pasta or double the sauce. At least double the leeks. And, unless you like huge portions of pasta, the recipe as written could be at least 6 servings along with salad, bread, etc.
Originally published May 31, 2020