This is a simple and delicious vegetarian pasta that is full of fresh flavours. The sweet leeks are so good with the acid from the lemon and the creamy saltiness of the parmesan. It’s all kinds of good.
This is a ridiculously easy meal that you can easily adjust to your tastes. I like it really heavy on the lemon and you can even use sweet meyer lemons in this for a slightly different flavour. If you’re not great at tolerating fructose (hey friends) then only use the green part of the leek and you should be a – okay but it will depend on your level of tolerance, we’re all different.
You can add extra chilli to this if you like things spicy, if you don’t like too much heat leave it out or remove the seeds for a more subtle effect.
Farfalle pasta is the little bow tie shape and I love it with this sauce but any short pasta with ridges or pockets for the leeks and other flavours to get caught will work equally well.
Quick side note before the long weekend: Check out this post over on the Forever New blog, where I share my tips for the ultimate long weekend lunch!
400g farfalle shaped pasta
2 Tbs Extra Virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 leeks, cut in half, rinsed then finely sliced
1 clove of garlic
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 bunches of asparagus, sliced into 3-4cm pieces
4 cups of spinach, washed and roughly chopped
Zest and Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 cup basil
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus more to serve
1/2 tsp black pepper
Cook pasta according to packet directions, when al dente drain reserving 1/3 cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large heavy based pan on medium high heat. Add the leeks, chilli and garlic and fry until the leek has softened and is just beginning to get some golden colour. Add the asparagus stems and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the spinach and asparagus tips and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cooked pasta, 1/2 the lemon zest, 1/2 the herbs, the parmesan, pepper and the lemon juice to the pan and toss to combine. If your pan is not big enough do this in the pot you cooked your pasta in.
If it looks dry and a little extra oil and 1/2 the reserved pasta water at a time until the flavours are coating the pasta.
Serve with the reserved herbs and lemon zest over the top and extra parmesan and oil to taste. You may need to add salt depending on your tastes but do taste first as the cheese is salty.