Eeeek, is that a leek?!?!

Never. Been. So. Happy. About. An. Upcoming. Weekend.

That is all ;)

So pardon the crazy weird post title, but after another 9+ hour day w/ no lunch break in sight (nothing like lunchin’ with your excel spreadsheets) I was seriously dunzo by the time I got home and perhaps a bit delirious!

Hoping that after tomorrow things will let up a bit, but I digress….

As tired out as I felt, I somehow still had plenty of energy for a cooking adventure!  How is that?  Always happens.  I’m so not normal.

Plus I had an ingredient that I was really looking forward to trying out in the Fanatic kitchen – one that I’d never used before :)

I figured I’d ease into it – and bought a frozen pre-sliced package from Trader Joe’s just last week.

Hey, everyone’s gotta start somewhere right ;)

But what to make with said leeks? 

Well this recipe idea immediately caught my eye last night – partially because it looked fabulous and partially because I had all the ingredients at home!

I kind of cut the recipe in half – well, because, that’s all I had on hand of each item.  Plus we’re only 2 people – even if The Man can eat for 4 sometimes :P

Baked Pasta w/ Cheddar & Leeks

Based on this Bon Appetit recipe for Baked Penne with Farmhouse Cheddar and Leeks

Remember, a recipe is just a starting point for a meal idea, you can always make changes to suit your tastes or to use ingredients you may already have on hand!

  • 1 package frozen sliced leeks
  • 2 tblsp butter
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 2/3 block sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1.75 cups reduced fat milk
  • 1 tblsp Dijon
  • 1 tblsp hot sauce
  • 1 egg, whisked w/ a fork
  • 1/2 package pasta shells, cooked
  • salt & pepper

Before you start, find a baking dish and use a little of the butter to coat the bottom & edges.

Then start by cooking your leeks over medium-high heat in the rest of that delicious butter.

Give them a little salt & pepper love too :)

I also used a knife to cut up some of the larger pieces so that they’d be a similar size to the pasta shells.

If you are using frozen leeks like me, it’ll take about 10 minutes for them to get nice n’ hot – don’t let them brown though.

Next, turn down the heat to medium-low and add in your flour, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes until you have a lovely thick veggie mixture.

Then in goes the milk, which you’ll want to bring to a low simmer.

At this point you can add in your cheese, dijon and hot sauce.

Stirring until the cheese is all melty and gooey!

 

Now here’s where it gets just a little fancy, but don’t be intimidated, this is easier than you think!

The egg has to go into the hot cheese mixture, but you don’t just want to drop in there.  You’ll have a curdled mess!

Instead, take a large spoonful of the hot cheese mixture and add it to the egg (which you’ve whisked in a small bowl) and stir for a minute.

 This is called”tempering” the egg – getting it to a warm enough temperature so that it’s ready to be added to the hot mixture.

Then add it back to the hot pan and continue to stir for another minute or two.

Stir in your cooked pasta shells and into the butter lined baking dish it goes!

Into a 400F oven for 30 minutes until browned on top a bit – and the whole time you’re house is going to smell so. incredibly. good.

Wow. Wow wow wow.  Seriously ya’ll, go make this dish now!

The dijon and hot sauce gave the best flavor when combined with the tangy leeks!!  And the sauce was the perfect consistency. 

We DEVOURED this…. so freakin’ good!

To go with our mac n’ cheese I had a new marinade that I was excited to try out.

The lady who owns the company that makes this Soycha sauce is based in Charlottesville too, just down the road!  :)

Pretty good stuff if you ask me…

And on some local Virginia beef it was super tasty!

Plus some yellow squash for good measure.

So in a nutshell – if you’re looking for a phenomenal, impressive & different twist on a comfort mac n’ cheese classic – I’d highly recommend trying this recipe.

I adored it.  The Man ate half the baking dish.  ‘Nuff said.

Time for some educational tv, my brain “needs” it :P

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12 responses to “Eeeek, is that a leek?!?!

  1. Owww- this looks like the perfect bake! The top has a nice brown. I haven’t cooked with leeks yet! I fear them. What did they taste like in the bake?

    • We decided that they tasted like a mild onion mixed with a green onion – they were perfect! You definitely need to try them girl, they were really good!!

  2. Oh my gosh, girl – you deserve to have tomorrow off after this week! I hope you at least get to take a lunch break tomorrow. :-(

    I’ve never had leeks! For some reason I have no idea what to do with them…but I love onions, so I’d probably love ‘em!

  3. I’m OBSESSED with leeks! They are SO good!!! Add cheese and pasta? Done. :)

  4. Oooh I actually really love leeks, so this looks amazing. Creamy, cheezy and yummy!

  5. yummm….I have NEVER cooked with leeks. And this looks so, so good. and so comforting!

  6. Oh my goodness do I LOVVVEEEE leeks! They can get a little gritty cause all the dirt gets in between the leaves so you have to be careful when you are cooking with fresh ones but they are so amazing. They are like the francy french girl of the onion family, close to shallots like that, but your right, kind of like a mild onion! I’m glad you’ve been introduced to them, it’s quite an experience ;)

  7. I knew it would be delicious! That looks fantastic!

  8. Looks like an amazing dinner – I haven’t done much cooking with leeks either.

    Hopefully you have a relaxing weekend!

  9. Pingback: Peaaanut, peaaanut butter. And chicken? | CookinFanatic

  10. Funny, I actually encouraged Trader Joe’s to begin selling leeks clean and ready to go. I have used fresh leeks once and only once never to do again!
    MEGA mega work! Will be using my TJ’s leeks tonight for my Mushroom, Leek and Lemon Risotto for Easter dinner! Cant wait! btw-I will most likely try your dish as well once upon another dinner–tks for sharing-

  11. Can’t wait to make this. Might try it with fresh leeks because my bag of frozen leeks has a lot of the dark green bits in which Im not sure would work here.

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