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

Plate with shrimp and leek pasta.


A white plate filled with shrimp and leek pasta on a multi-colored woven placemat.

Shrimp and Leek Pasta

5 / 21 votes
This shrimp and leek pasta ditches the heavy cream sauce in favor of a light broth-based sauce that elevates the shrimp and leeks.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories741 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • 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 for 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.
Lidia's Italian Table by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich

Adapted From

Lidia’s Italian Table

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 741 kcalCarbohydrates: 90 gProtein: 44 gFat: 23 gSaturated Fat: 5 gMonounsaturated Fat: 13 gTrans Fat: 0.1 gCholesterol: 289 mgSodium: 3852 mgFiber: 5 gSugar: 5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 1998 Lidia Bastianich. Photo © 1998 David Leite. All rights reserved.

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.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


    1. Carlin, wow! This is, truly, my favorite pasta recipe on the site. The One and I have often. Glad you part of the club.

  1. 5 stars
    YUMMMMM. What a delicious, simple recipe.

    I made this last night and have been valiantly resisting finishing off the leftovers before dinner tonight!

    I had never cooked dry pasta this way – boil briefly and then let sit. It turned out perfectly al dente.

    Thanks for another awesome recipe, you guys have never steered me wrong.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this amazing dish tonight for dinner. It was so easy to put together. It was quite the treat for us. We loved it!