Look at the photo and guess what it is? No, it is not Spaghetti alla Carbonara, although it does look similar. The sauce is not made of eggs, but of sous-vide cooked and then pureed leeks! Cooking leeks sous vide for 2 hours makes leeks sweet, luscious, and creamy. And that works very well with savory bits of slightly crunchy pancetta and the nice bite of spaghetti (provided that is cooked properly al dente). This is a quick dish if you cook the leeks sous-vide beforehand (and even cooking the leeks is simple, it just takes two hours of waiting for them to be done).
For 2 servings
2 large leeks (you will need about 450 grams or 1 lb of leeks after cleaning)
200 grams (7 oz) spaghetti
100 grams (3.5 oz) pancetta, diced
50 grams (1.8 oz) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
1 Tbsp butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Remove the bottoms and dark green tops of the leeks as shown. These can be discarded or used to make stock or leek royale.
Vacuum seal the leeks.
Cook sous-vide for 2 hours at 85C/185F. The leeks can be cooked sous-vide in advance, chilled in ice water and refrigerated until needed.
When the leeks are (almost) done, bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water boils, add salt and the spaghetti.
Boil the spaghetti for the time indicated on the package for al dente.
Notes on cooking spaghetti: there is no need to add oil. Never rinse spaghetti after cooking. If you cook over high heat, uncovered, you only have to stir the spaghetti once as soon as it becomes pliable.
While the spaghetti is cooking, melt a tablespoon of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta.
Stir the pancetta over medium heat until crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside.
Take the leeks out of the bag and put them in a food processor or blender.
Add the freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.
Process to incorporate the cheese.
Add the pureed leeks to the pancetta.
Stir over medium heat until heated through (this will take longer if the leeks were refrigerated), then turn off the heat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
When the spaghetti is al dente, drain in a colander and add to the leeks and pancetta. (Do not rinse the spaghetti with cold water.)
Toss the spaghetti with the leeks and pancetta over low heat, until the spaghetti is coated with leeks.
Serve at once on preheated plates, sprinkled with some more freshly grated parmigiano and freshly ground black pepper.
A charlotte is usually a dessert, where a mold is lined with bread, cake, or biscuits, and then filled with custard or fruit. This eggplant charlotte is lined with slices of eggplant and filled with eggplant as well. It is an elegant vegetarian dish that you can serve as an appetizer but also as a lunch or vegetarian main course. It can be prepared in advance, so it is perfect for dinner parties as well. They can be served warm or at room temperature.