Thursday, August 16, 2018

Baked Campanelli with Leeks

A lot of people are surprised by this, but Sunday is the only day of the week that I cook. What this means is that everything you are seeing on the blog this week, I made in one day. I know, it appears that I do more, but frankly, these days, I’m far too busy (read: old and tired) to spend my time cooking. I worked with Leeks this week, trying a variety of new recipes, and loving them all. Leeks are an amazingly versatile vegetable. Most people know them from various leek and potato soup recipes. I do love leek and potato soup, but I also love them braised, creamed, in scrambled eggs and quiches, and now, in a sophisticated version of macaroni and cheese.

I decided to change things up a bit, and make macaroni look much more elegant by using campanelli instead of the standard elbow or penne pastas. There is method to my madness. Campanelli is a wonderful curled pasta that holds onto a lot of sauce. What this means is that you’re going to get delicious mouthfuls of cheese and leek sauce in every bite. Feel free to put your own spin on this. I like it super cheesy, so use the sharpest cheddar that I can find, but if you prefer yours milder, use whatever cheese suits you.

To familiarize yourself with the various types of pasta, including campanelli, you might want to check out this post.
Baked Campanelli with Leeks
Slightly adapted from

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 bag
Melissa’s Cleaned and Sliced Leeks
  1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more or less to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 large eggs
Few gratings fresh nutmeg
1 pound
campanelli pasta

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Lightly butter 15x10x2-inch baking dish.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; stir to coat. Cover saucepan and cook until leeks are tender, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes (do not brown). Uncover saucepan; add flour. Stir 2 minutes. Add milk; bring to simmer, stirring often. Add cheese, mustard, and pepper sauce. Stir until cheese melts. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Season cheese sauce to taste with salt. Stir in nutmeg.

Whisk eggs in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 1 cup cheese sauce. Stir egg mixture into cheese sauce in saucepan.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return to pot.

Stir cheese sauce into pasta in pot. Transfer to prepared baking dish.

Bake pasta until cheese sauce is bubbling around edges and some ends of pasta are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve hot.

One of my favorite pasta dishes (try it, and it will be yours as well) is Pimiento Cheese Mac and Cheese. So rich and delicious!

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Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

Wow, Pattie, you are making my mouth water!!!! I absolutely love baked mac n cheese and the leeks must add the perfect mild onion flavor! Pinning!

The Lazy Gastronome said...

Looks good! Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party.

Miz Helen said...

Your pasta dish looks delicious! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
Miz Helen