You know those evenings when you’re down to only a few things in your fridge and you need to come up with a way to make them all mesh together and actually taste good? That’s where we were the other night since I was too sick over the weekend to make my usual grocery run. I took an inventory: we had some various pastas, some frozen vegetables, eggs, onions, and one leek leftover from the tomato and leek sauté I had made the previous week.
The easiest thing to do would probably have been to make soup, but I really wanted some kind of pasta dish. And since I was still sick my husband offered to cook anything as long as I barked instructions at him from my nest on the couch. I googled “pasta peas leek” and found a recipe for pasta with leeks, peas, parmesan and a fried egg. A fried egg? On pasta? I had to try this.
The author wrote the recipe to only serve one so I doubled or substituted where appropriate. (We added some extra onion since we only had one leek.)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 small bag of orecchiette pasta
1 leek, thinly sliced
½ onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small bag of frozen peas, thawed
¼ – ½ tsp. of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain pasta when done and reserve about a cup of the pasta water.
2. In a large sauté pan (or the pasta pot in my case), heat the oil over medium heat and add the leek, onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is soft, about 3 minutes.
3. Add the peas, the pasta and some of the pasta water to the leeks and onions and toss until heated through. Add the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to season.
4. Push the pasta into one end of the pan and crack an egg into the empty side, or just use another pan if there’s not enough room. Season the egg with salt and pepper and cook until your desired doneness. Transfer pasta to a bowl and top with the egg and some shaved parmesan.
Hint: The starchiness of the pasta water helps the sauce bind to the pasta noodles.
I didn’t realize until I was reading through the recipe again that you’re supposed to add butter to the pasta mixture to make it creamier. We didn’t do this and the dish still came out pretty tasty. We also didn’t have any parmesan and it was fine without it. The egg didn’t add anything spectacular but was still a fun addition. I had the pasta leftovers the next day, egg-less and was just as satisfied. We’ll probably make this again – egg or not.