Pasta with Leeks and Mushrooms and Creamy Parmesan

This is her version of sick food.  I love this girl.

I am wore out.  I have been fighting this cough for almost three weeks now, through a colonoscopy, an unwelcome monthly visitor, and a stomach bug that passed through both kids and kept them home from school for the better part of last week.  Oh, and my Mr. went on a boy’s trip to Atlantic City over the weekend.  I need a rest!

Unfortunately that is not included in the benefits package offered by my employer.

I still gotta cook up a hot meal tonight.  But I’m keeping it simple with a meatless supper made up of mostly pantry staples and random scraps from my veggie bin (a stray leek and some mushrooms with not much life left in them).

Mushroom and Leek Linguine with Creamy Parmesan Sauce

1 leek
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 oz. button mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
1/3 pound dried linguine
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

Chop up the leek and give it a cold water bath.  Check out this other post I did for photos and step by step instructions on how to clean a leek.  (Give me a break people, I told you I’m wore out!)

While your leek is luxuriating in it’s little spa moment (I’m so damn jealous of that leek right about now…), heat the olive oil in a big saute pan and start slicing the mushrooms.

When the oil is nice and shimmery hot, put in the ‘shrooms and season them with salt and pepper.

Get a big stockpot of water on to boil and throw in a handful of salt to season the pasta water.  Put a lid on it so it comes to a boil faster.  When it does, put the pasta in, give it a little stir, and set your timer for one minute less than the package directs.

Here is a little trick: my Mr. and I are gaga over this baguette we used to always get at a local bakery back in our old neighborhood.  Since we’ve moved out to the sticks, we can’t find anything that even comes close to measuring up.  So now, whenever we are out that way, we pick up two or three, bring them home, slice them up, and freeze the slices in a zip-top bag.  Any night we feel like having garlic bread, we just take out a few slices, butter them up (without even bothering to thaw them first), and sprinkle them with garlic powder.  Pop ’em in the toaster oven on warm and they are melty, chewy, warm, and delicious by the time we sit down to our meal.

Ok so by now the mushrooms are starting to look nice and toasty.  Scoop the leeks out of their bath…

…and stir them in with the mushrooms.  They will quickly turn a brilliant spring green.  You can add in the garlic now too.

Pour in the chicken stock and the cream and let it simmer and thicken.

When the timer beeps, drain the pasta and put it into the saute pan with the simmering sauce.  Stir it around and let it finish cooking another minute in there.  It will soak up some of that gorgeous mushroom-leek-chicken-cream.

P.S.- a word about cream: it sounds really naughty, right?  Like super fattening and something we should avoid at all costs.  I don’t know, I think it’s worth keeping on hand.  For one thing, it keeps in the fridge for a really long time.  Like six weeks.  And really, it’s no worse for you than butter.  I mean it is butter.  Or butter is cream.  I wouldn’t just totally douse my pasta in cream, but a little drizzle added to the chicken stock just makes such a lovely little treat when you are in need of some comfort…

Ok so that pasta’s looking pretty scrumptious so I’ll get off my cream soapbox and wrap things up.  We want to turn the heat off and stir in the parm.  (I heard somewhere that parmesano reggiano is a perfect food, as is, and should never be cooked.)  The heat of the sauce and pasta and veg is just enough to melt that cheese into a beautifully thick and rich creamy sauce.

Another P.S. (sorry)- It is so worth it to buy the best parmesano reggiano you can find.  I’ve been known to spend over $20 for a hunk of parm.  It will last in your fridge for a looooong time and make everything you put it on taste sooooo good.

Nestle the pasta and veg into a bowl and nap it with any sauce that’s remaining in the pan.  Top it with a little more freshly grated parm and tuck a piece of garlic toast alongside.

Mr. can do the dishes tonight, I’m going to bed.

Click here for a printable 4×6 recipe card: Mushroom Leek Pasta with Parmesan Cream Recipe Card

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