Magical leek pasta

How do you solve a problem like Maria?
How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
~ Rodgers and Hammerstein, The Sound of Music

“Pity those who don’t love the sweet taste and delicate texture of leeks. Eventually, you probably will,” writes Madame Mireille Guiliano, author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat”. I remember well the initial revulsion I felt when I first read her recipe for magical leek soup… yeesh! I could not imagine anyone trying to eat leeks cooked in nothing but its own juice and some water.

I did try ‘magical leek soup’, but ended up adding a whole lot of ingredients to it, thus arriving at a soup I wouldn’t recommend to anyone trying to lose weight :-)

I have indeed come to enjoy this fragrant vegetable though, on the few occasions I now eat it (none of my flatmates over the last few years have liked leeks at all, unfortunately, so I’ve tried not to cook them for dinners).

I bought myself a leek last night, and bore it home triumphantly. I had leek, lemon and herb pasta for breakfast today… and I have to say it was pretty good!

Basically, I washed, drained and chopped about a third of a leek, fried the leek rings with some handy garlic butter I had in my freezer, salt, pepper, thyme sprigs, fresh rosemary – and sprinkled in lemon zest and lemon juice shortly before they were done. This went on top of some linguine I cooked till al dente.

I was faintly regretful that I had such a hearty breakfast when we got to Westpac Stadium for the Food Show this afternoon… seriously, gluttony is not to be envied in the slightest.

Jeremy, John and I spent a good few hours traipsing through the stadium with lots of people, sampling limoncellos, Fair trade coffee, gourmet avocado oil, chocolate, Manuka-smoked chicken, who knows what else… some of the food tasted great, others I frankly wouldn’t feed to my worst enemies. I also didn’t enjoy the crowds, to be honest! I ended up just buying 2 packets of Gravity plunger coffee which I shall look forward to using with my new colleagues.

Oh yes, and there were some pretty amazing birthday cakes on display too… check out this Alice one! Gorgeous, no?

Finally, Nish and I went to try Cosa Nostra Trattoria on Tinakori Road tonight. I always love hanging out with Nish anyway, whatever we end up doing or talking about – but I also love the fact that we both dig good food. Cosa Nostra is delicious, homely, rustic, warm, with the most friendly staff you could ask for – exactly what we needed on this cold wet night. She had spaghetti with seafood, chilli, garlic; and I had ricotta-stuffed tortellini with a creamy ham and mushroom sauce. I made the mistake of thinking I could eat dessert too… though the tiramisu was smile-inducing (a mascarpone, espresso, fairytale melt-in-the-mouth affair) – I had to take some of it home.

Haidee and I are planning to check out City Market tomorrow (I was inspired by Millie of a very delicious blog, Gusty Gourmet)… afterwhich I think I might suggest to Mr. Food that we break up for awhile while I start dating Mr. Exercise…

Cosa Nostra – 324 Tinakori Road, Thorndon, Wellington – Phone: 04 473 3005

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