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Fast food & fall veggies

One of the best things about cooking is using fruits and vegetables that are in season. Nothing beats a ripe peach from a farm stand in the summer. However, we are way past stone fruit season. Fall and winter bring fresh citrus fruits- bright tangerines and tart grape fruits. Crisp kale and hearty turnips. Leeks are some of my favorite. A mild onion, they go well with everything. Leeks in fried potatoes, omelets, and fritatas are great at breakfast. Leek and potato soup warms you up on cold nights. But my favorite 30 minute leek meal involves bacon. Of course. Pancetta is an Italian bacon. Cured with salt, herbs and spices it is a flavorful alternative to American bacon. It can be found in the deli section of your grocery cubed and sliced. You can also find it at some deli counters (Suncrest Kroger) and get extra to cook with later.

Leek and Pancetta PastaLeek and Pancetta Pasta

4 oz pancetta, chopped
3-4 leeks, finely sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc -substitute 1/2 cup chicken broth for an alternative to alcohol
1/2 cup half and half or cream
Parmesan cheese to taste
400 g pasta shapes, penne or bow-tie work

Cook pasta and set aside. Reserve pasta water in case it’s needed for the sauce later.

Step 1

Cook chopped pancetta over medium heat till fat is rendered and the bacon starts to look crispy.

Step 2

Add the sliced leeks and stir well. Cook about 7 minutes, until the leeks are tender.

Step 3Add the wine, and stir well. Be sure to get all the crispy bits left on the skillet from the pancetta. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the wine is reduced. Reduce to low and add the half and half. Stir in parmesan to taste. Toss with pasta and add the reserved water if sauce is too thick.Leeks

Note – Leeks are grown partly underground and are often very sandy and dirty. Rinse them well to avoid grit in your food. Cut off the fuzzy end (the root end) and the top of the leek, the dark green leaves. Use the white and light green parts.

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