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Pasta of the Week: Penne with Leeks, White Cheddar and Pancetta


I made HALF a batch of this recipe from Bon Appetit, but added chopped pancetta to the leeks in the first step. It is rich, yummy comfort food.


Penne with Leeks, Farmhouse White Cheddar and Pancetta

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
5 cups chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 5 large)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 4 cups packed)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
2 large eggs
1 pound penne pasta

Lightly butter 15x10x2-inch baking dish. Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat. Cover saucepan and cook until leeks are tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes (do not brown). Uncover saucepan; add flour. Stir 2 minutes. Add milk; bring to simmer, stirring often. Add cheese, mustard, and pepper sauce. Stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat. Season cheese sauce to taste with salt.

Whisk eggs in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 1 cup cheese sauce. Stir egg mixture into cheese sauce in saucepan.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return to pot.

Stir cheese sauce into pasta in pot. Transfer to prepared baking dish. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake pasta until cheese sauce is bubbling around edges and some ends of pasta are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let stand 15 minutes. Serve hot.


Comments (5)


Ooooh, that looks sooo good!

Barb Cabot:

This looks so good. I love make ahead dishes. I'm going to definitely try this one. Thanks Palma and Happy Easter to you and Brad.

Barb Cabot:

Palma I'm not seeing the Pancetta in the ingred. or directions. I"m making this tonight and think I just get some pancetta mix it into the cheese sauce and will wing the amount. Just came back to this as I needed something for dinner tonight. Thanks.

Barb, there WAS no pancetta in the original recipe. I added a package of chopped pancetta to the leeks when I sauteed them, and they went in with the sauce when you toss the pasta. It added another layer of flavor.

Barb Cabot:

I made this for dinner tonight. I thought it was going to be last night but no. OMG the good smell of it baking. I hope Mike gets home soon. Thank you Palma, I'm sure he will be a happy man!

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