This Leek and Mushroom Pasta is a jazzed up aglio e olio with sautéed leeks and mushrooms. It can be easily made in under 20 minutes with only 8 basic ingredients making it great weeknight dish you can throw together at a moments notice! | Gluten Free + Dairy Free + Vegan
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How to Make Leek and Mushroom Pasta
Altogether this Leek and Mushroom Pasta comes together in about 15 minutes. The process can be broken down into a few mains steps:
- Boil pasta – Make sure to read the instructions on your chosen pasta. This is especially important when dealing with gluten free pasta because different brands often have different times and tips for achieving the right texture.
- Tip: Add 1 tablespoon of salt to your pasta water. Your pasta won’t taste overly salty in the end – it just makes a big difference in how well seasoned your pasta is in the end.
- Sauté mushrooms & leeks – While the pasta is boiling, sauté the veg for about 5-7 minutes until the leeks and softened and the mushrooms tender.
- Add garlic – Garlic burns quickly so it needs less time to cook. Add it to the pan and cook, stirring often for another 3-4 minutes until it starts to golden and become more fragrant.
- Combine – At this point your pasta should be drained (after first saving 1/4 cup pasta water) and ready to go. Add the pasta to the leek-mushroom mixture along with the reserved pasta water, parsley, chili flakes and salt. Mix well, taste and season as needed.
What type of mushrooms should I use?
- I like to use white button or cremini mushrooms (which are actually the same type of mushroom just at different life stages). They’re inexpensive, always available in store and easy to cook.
What type of pasta shape should I use?
- Any! I used penne because it’s what I had on hand. I think the hollowed shells are great for picking up sauce and flavour, but fusilli would also be a great option here. Given how similar this recipe is to a more traditional aglio e olio, spaghetti or noodle pasta are also good options.
Why save and add pasta water to the sauce?
- Pasta water is starchy (and hopefully if you’ve seasoned it well) salty. This starchy-salty water enhances pasta sauce because it adds flavour and improved texture to your pasta sauce. An addition of starchy water will help thicken your sauce and help it stick to your noodles ensuring that all the delicious flavours you’ve worked on end up on the pasta and not stuck in the pan.
- Chicken or Sausage – Grilled, sliced chicken or cooked sausage is a great way to bulk out this pasta for a more filling meal.
- Beans – Add a cup of cooked chickpeas or other white beans. Beans are also a great way to add protein and fibre.
- Nuts or Seeds – Toast chopped or flaked almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds or other nuts. Mix them in just before serving for added crunch and intrigue.
- Cheese – Add grated parmesan or mozzarella peals (dairy free if needed). Add the cheese in the final few minutes of cooking so that it can melt in to the pasta.
- More Herbs – Instead of or in addition to parsley you can add chopped basil, chives, thyme and/or tarragon. I also personally love adding fennel seed.
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- 1 lb | 450 g dried gluten free vegan penne
- 1/3 cup | 80 ml olive oil
- 1 large leek, white parts only sliced
- 8 oz | 125 g mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tablespoon | about 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, optional
- Prepare pasta according to package instructions. Once cooked, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the rest and set both pasta water and pasta aside.
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet and warm over a medium heat. Add the leeks, mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook 5-7 minutes to soften.
- Add the garlic and cook another 3-4 minutes. Stir often to keep the garlic from burning. Turn off the heat until you’re ready to add the pasta.
- Add the pasta to the mushroom-leek mixture along with 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, chopped parsley, chili flakes (if using) and reserved pasta water. Mix well making sure to evenly coat the pasta with sauce.
- Taste with additional salt, chili and parsley as needed and enjoy.