Creamy spring pasta flavored with sweet leeks, salty bacon, and tangy dijon mustard
- 4 slices uncooked bacon, diced
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 large leeks (or 3 small), thinly sliced and cleaned
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp minced fresh thyme
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1 lb rigatoni pasta (fresh or dry)
- ½ cup grated Gruyere cheese
- ½ cup grated Fontina cheese
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Small bunch of pea shoots (optional for garnish)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Add the diced bacon to a large, cold skillet. Turn the heat to medium, and render the bacon until crispy, about 8-12 minutes. *See note
- Remove the bacon from the pan using a slotted spoon, and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Carefully drain all but 1 tbsp of bacon fat from the pan.
- Increase the heat to medium high. Add the unsalted butter to the bacon fat. Stir in the leeks and ¼ tsp kosher salt. Saute until soft, 3-5 minutes.
- Add garlic to the pan. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Stir in dijon mustard and thyme. Cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly stir in the heavy cream and ¼ tsp kosher salt. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium high heat, and cook for 3-4 minutes until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. *See note
- Reduce the heat to low. Add the pasta to the sauce, along with the cooked bacon, gruyere and fontina cheese. Toss to coat the pasta and melt the cheese.
- Serve immediately. Garnish with pea shoots.
- Starting the bacon in a cold pan and cooking over medium heat, will ensure the bacon fat renders slowly and cooks evenly.
- Adding the cream slowly to the pan will allow it to come to temperature and thicken quicker. If you add the cream too quickly, the temperature in the pan will reduce and have to come back up before the cream and boil and thicken.
- Category: Pasta
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: leeks, garlic, rigatoni, heavy cream, pasta, pea shoots, dijon mustard, fresh thyme, creamy pasta, spring pasta, quick pasta dinner, gruyere cheese, fontina cheese