This pasta dish came out so well. Big John called it a winner. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine did.
- Kosher salt
- 3 lbs. leeks (3-4 large)
- 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
- 1 lb. Circle B Ranch Sweet Italian Sausage
- 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
- 5 oz. baby spinach (about 5 packed cups)
- 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen peas
- 12 oz. orecchiette, farfalle, or other short pasta
- 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano (about 1 ½ cups), finely grated, plus more for serving
- ½ cup finely chopped fresh mint
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh lemon juice, to taste
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Trim the leeks, leaving the white and light green parts. Slice in half lengthwise, then crosswise into ½-inch thick half-moon slices (will yield about 8 cups). Rinse well and pat dry.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, breaking up the meat into small bits. Add more oil if needed and thoroughly cook sausage, about 5-7 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the sausage to a bowl, leaving about 2 Tbsp. of fat in the pan. Add the leeks and ¼ tsp. salt, and cook, stirring occasionally and adding more oil if the pan seems dry. Cook for about 7-10 minutes until the leeks are tender. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the spinach and peas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted, 1-2 minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet and keep warm.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta, and return the pasta to the pot. Add the sausage-leek mixture, the reserved cooking water, cheese, mint, and a generous pinch of pepper. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve topped with additional cheese and lemon wedges on the side.
- Serving Size: 4