Leek and mushroom dishes are a combination made in heaven. When you pair that with ricotta, you get a light, creamy, delicious explosion of flavors. Oh, did I mention this is made in one pot and ready in 40 minutes?
The post contains helpful tips and tricks to make sure you're successful in your first attempt. But if you're in a rush, please use the link above to jump to the recipe card at the end!
💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- It's a gateway to easy leek recipes! Leeks can hide dirt, and you have to prepare them properly but they're nutritious and a great source of dietary fiber. So, this easy leek recipe can help you learn how to prep them so you can use them in other dishes!
- Uses one pot, ready in 40 minutes. I love simple meals that are easy to clean up. And this leek and mushroom pasta checks all the boxes (just like this spicy alfredo!)
- Creamy but not too rich. Mushrooms and cream go hand-in-hand but this pasta uses ricotta instead of traditional heavy cream for more balanced, lighter flavors. You can switch it up with heavy cream (or add on top) if you want something more indulgent!
- Versatile and a great medium for frozen veggies. If you want to add some peas, corn, broccoli, whatever - you can just dump them into the pot as well.
📋 Ingredients & Notes
At a basic level, this recipe needs shallots, leeks, mushrooms, ricotta, some fresh herbs, pasta and liquid to cook the pasta in. I've used just water, but you can also use broth or even white wine depending on what you have at home.
- Use long pasta. Given the creaminess of the sauce and the mushrooms, I prefer using a long pasta like bucatini, fettucine, papparadelle or tagliatelle. But this recipe works with almost any pasta - so don't be worried if you only have something else on hand
- Use other vegetables. I use shallots, leeks and mushrooms in this recipe, but you can also add asparagus, broccoli, scallions or peas or any other green vegetables in season.
- Adjust the creaminess. I use ricotta as the main "cream" component, but you can also add or substitute heavy cream for more indulgent flavors
- Switch up the herbs. I like using parsley and oregano in this pasta, but you can also use mint, basil, thyme and a number of other fresh herbs to switch up the flavors
🍝 Step-by-step instructions
How to clean leeks
Start by washing the leeks thoroughly. Then, slice off the root ends and hairs, as well as the very leafy portion. You will be left with half the length of the leek you started with.
Slice the leek vertically down the middle so you're left with two half-cylinders. Slice them in half again, so you're left with four semi-cylinders.
Holding one of those horizontally, start chopping them like you would chop any vegetable. Dump them in a bowl of water immediately. Once you're done chopping all the leeks, rinse the chopped leeks in your bowl of water, turning them over with your hands. Let them sit in the water for a bit and you'll get rid of most of the dirt. Your leeks are ready now.
Sauté shallots, mushrooms, leeks and garlic
In a large Dutch oven or a pot, add some oil. Once hot, add chopped shallots and cook them for 2 minutes, followed by the mushrooms and leeks. Cook those for about 2 to 3 minutes until the water starts to evaporate. At this stage, add the minced garlic and give it a stir for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Depending on the type of mushrooms you're using, you might want to set them aside if you want "crisp" mushrooms (since we'll be making the pasta in the same pot)
Add liquid and bring to a boil
The recipe card, as written, uses just vegetable broth. But you have a couple of options for the type of liquid you can use in this recipe:
- You can use just vegetable broth (or water) - in this case, add ~2.5 cups of liquid, along with oregano, salt and pepper, give it a good stir and bring to a boil (by closing the lid)
- You can first add ½ cup of white wine, cook off the alcohol in about 2 minutes, then add 2 to 2.5 cups of vegetable broth or water along with seasoning and bring to a boil
Cook pasta, add cheese, and serve hot
Once the liquid is boiling, add the pasta. Give the pasta a stir every 30 seconds for the first 2 minutes to get the pasta fully immersed in the liquid. Then, let it cook to the package directions, typically 8 to 9 minutes total. Once the pasta is cooked, turn off the heat, stir in the ricotta cheese first, followed by parmesan and fresh parsley. Serve hot with a crack of fresh pepper and more parmesan / parsley.
Alternatively, if you prefer, you can just make the pasta in a separate pot, or simply cook the leeks and mushrooms while you're draining the pasta so they're not mixed into the pasta - totally up to you!
🍴 Serving & Storage Suggestions
You can store this pasta in the fridge for up to 3 days, in an airtight container. When you're ready to eat again, reheat the portion you'd like to eat in the microwave for about 1 to 1.5 minutes depending on your microwave. Garnish with fresh parmesan and parsley before serving. I do not recommend freezing this pasta.
If you like this recipe, you'll love these comforting, one pot recipes as well:
Creamy Leek & Mushroom Pasta
- 12 oz pasta, preferrably long (I use bucatini)
Leek and Mushroom Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, substitute butter for a richer pasta
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 leeks, cleaned and diced (check post for details)
- 5 oz mushrooms, chopped (cremini or shiitake)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, or substitute 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- ¾ cup ricotta cheese, substitute heavy cream for a creamier pasta
- 3 cups water, substitute broth for a richer pasta; check recipe notes for wine addition
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste
- 1 teaspoon pepper, adjust to taste
- ¼ cup parmesan, divided, 2 teaspoons for garnish
- 1-2 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped finely
Clean and Prep Leeks
- Wash the leeks thoroughly. Slice the root ends, hairs, and very leafy portion. You will be left with half the length of the leek you started with. Slice the leek vertically down the middle to make two half-cylinders. Repeat to get four semi-cylinders. Chop each piece and dump in a bowl of water immediately. Once you’re done chopping all the leeks, rinse the chopped leeks in your bowl of water, turning them over with your hands. Let them sit in the water for a few minutes and you’ll get rid of most of the dirt. Note: Check the post for step-by-step visual instructions!
Make Pasta and Sauce
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot on medium flame. Add shallots when the oil is hot and sauté for a minute, until fragrant.
- Add chopped mushrooms and leeks and cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so, until the water evaporates (and you can continue cooking up to 8 minutes, for the mushrooms to brown). Stir in the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant.Note: Here, you can either choose to set the vegetables aside in case you want crispier mushrooms and leeks, or you can just make the whole recipe in one pot (in which case your veggies will be softer - this is totally a preference thing!)
- Add water, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. For a richer pasta, you can substitute ½ cup of water with white wine. If you use wine, add that first, and cook for 2 minutes before adding the rest of the broth.
- Add pasta, and cook for about 8 minutes. Stir the pasta every 30 seconds at the beginning to ensure it's submerged in the liquid. checking frequently to make sure it stays al dente (refer to package instructions to ensure pasta cooks to your desire). Note: Alternatively, you can also cook the pasta and the vegetables separately and mix them together later, depending on your preferred consistency of vegetables.
- Once the pasta is ready, turn off the heat, add ricotta and mix well together. Then add parmesan and give that a good stir. Finally, garnish with a bit more freshly grated parmesan and fresh parsley and serve hot!
- I prefer using a cast iron braiser or a Dutch oven to cook this dish to avoid sticking at the bottom. If you use a traditional pot, just make sure to scrape the bottom for the first couple of minutes to avoid stuff getting stuck!
- Ideally, you want 3 cups of liquid for ~12 oz of pasta. This liquid can be any combination of water, broth or white wine. If you use white wine, make sure to add that first and cook off the alcohol before adding broth.
- This is a super versatile dish - you can add peas, broccoli, asparagus, scallions and any other green vegetables of your choice. Or scallions.
- I use ricotta to keep the dish creamy but light - for a more decadent pasta, you can substitute olive oil with butter and ricotta with heavy cream!
Note: This recipe was originally published in March, 2020. It was updated on 18, October 2020, to include more process photos and tips for the recipe.