Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pasta with Ham and Leeks

My mom, who as you know by now, is also a great cook. We love to share ideas and recipes with each other and will go as far as to call each other JUST to talk about some amazing thing we made for dinner last night.

But there is a big difference between my mom and I.  While it's very rare for me to make the same thing twice, even if I love it, my mom will repeat recipes over and over.  I love to tease her about it, but the advantage to repeating recipes several times is that you have those particular dishes down to a delicious art.  It's like going to a restaurant with a really small menu, you know that whatever they do serve is going to be phenomenal.

My mom made this pasta for us the last time we were home and I scarfed it down as if I hadn't eaten in days.  The flavors, the richness, I mean, THIS is a bowl of pasta.  Knowing how much my husband would love it, I made it for him shortly after going home.  Guess what, it wasn't as good.  I hadn't fine tuned it like my mom had.  It's inspired me to work on recipes a bit more when they don't work out as well as I'd like the first time.  Touche mom!

Pasta with Ham and Leeks 
Women's Day Magazine April 2012 

Cream Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
kosher salt and pepper
3/4 cup whole milk
4 oz cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup grated cheese
pinch of nutmeg


1.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium low heat in a large skillet.  Add onion and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Cook, covered, stirring occasionally until tender, about 6-8 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute.

2.  Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer.  Whisk in the cream cheese, Parmesan and nutmeg and simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened, 2-3 minutes.  When adding cream sauce to pasta, add reserved pasta water if sauce is too dry.


1 lb Fettuccine, cooked according to directions, saving 1 cup pasta water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, cleaned and chopped into half moons
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
6 oz ham, chopped (I just used deli meat)


Heat oil in large skillet until hot.  Add leeks and saute until tender, about five minutes.  Add peas and ham and toss to combine.  Add pasta and cream sauce.  Add pasta water if sauce is too dry.  Serve immediately.

What recipe have you mastered?


Kim said...

Cute story about the difference between how you cook and how your mom cooks. I think there's definitely an advantage in repeating the same favorites and fine tuning them.

This recipe does sound like a winner! Ham and creamy sauce just belong together.

Rebecca Subbiah said...

sounds like this has perfected it :-)

Anonymous said...

I can never make scalloped potatoes like my mom, no matter how many times I've watched her make it or many times I've tried to recreate it!

Shobha said...

Sounds interesting..I love pasta with creamy sauce.

Debbie said...

Your mom is so right! I'm like you though and I just love trying new recipes all the time. But there are some that I have made for years and they always turn out good. One is spaghetti and meatballs. I am definitely going to start repeating recipes much more often though...that's the only way to get them really delicious each time.

Reeni Pisano said...

I make recipes over and over too! Mostly because someone in my family will crave it and ask me to make it. The pasta looks decadent and delicious! Love the cream sauce.

Velva said...

This looks delicious! No doubt you will be making it again and again!


Pam said...

Yum! It looks wonderful!

Angie's Recipes said...

It looks creamy, homey and tasty!

Cathy said...

This looks like a delicious pasta dish, Teresa. Lots of tweaking over the years is what makes mom's and grandma's dishes so good. It's hard to duplicate that.

Julie said...

Sounds like she's got the "mom" touch. Yours looks fabulous, I'm sure it was great :)

Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez said...

LOL, there's something to be said for repetition ;P This sounds so great, though...I love the thought of this combo w/ pasta - very satisfying!

Chris said...

My mom and I have a phone call like that about once a week. We definitely have different cooking styles and practices like you and your mom but we still have a lot to share.

Joanne said...

There are some things that mom's make that just never taste as good when you make them yourself. For me, it's mac and cheese and pancakes. I think this pasta sounds great!

Lynn said...

This sounds yummy, with the cream cheese in the sauce. I'll bet it makes it nice and rich and deeee-licious :) I'm afraid I'm like you when it comes to moving on to the next recipe rather than perfecting just a few. But my husband is a really good cook. He's got five or ten favorites that he makes a lot and boy are they good! With mine, you never know if it'll be a hit or a miss.

Barbara said...

Oh, that cream cheese is a yummy idea, Teresa. I'm going to try that!

andrei jose said...

This sounds delicious! I wanna try this one. Thanks for this recipe. I love your blog too.

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