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Pasta with Sausage, Leeks, and Lettuce


Lettuce isn't for your salads. Bibb or Boston lettuce works best in this dish -- they won't overpower the delicate taste of the leeks.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Photography: Con Poulos

Source: Everyday Food, May 2011


  • 3/4 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 2 bunches leeks (about 3 pounds total), white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/4-inch slices, rinsed well, and drained
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound short pasta, such as lumache or medium shells
  • 4 cups Bibb or Boston lettuce, torn into pieces
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving


  1. In a large skillet, cook sausages over medium-high, breaking up meat with a spoon, until browned, 5 minutes. Transfer 4 cups leeks to an airtight container and refrigerate for later use. Add remaining leeks (4 cups) to sausage in skillet and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until mostly evaporated, 2 minutes. Stir in butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain pasta, return to pot, along with sausage mixture, and toss to combine. Add lettuce and enough pasta water to create a light sauce that coats pasta. Toss to combine. Serve with Parmesan on the side.

Cook's Notes

Waste not: Pair tonight's dinner with the same white wine you use in the recipe. Transform any leftover lettuce you have on hand into a dinner ingredient in this dish.

Reviews Add a comment

  • melkolbsy
    29 APR, 2015
    this was really good, the lettuce is a bit of an odd addition but i think the crispness adds a nice touch - next time i would add lettuce as people desired to each bowl instead of tossing all the pasta with it - it wilted for reheating and hubby didnt much like the lettuce part.
  • MS112606495
    21 DEC, 2013
    This dish was very good, I just wish we could have tasted the leeks more. The sausage flavor seemed to overpower them. Of course that may just have been the type of sausage I used. I'll try a different brand next time. Even so, everyone in my house enjoyed the meal.
  • barefootmamma
    6 SEP, 2011
    This is one of our family favorites! Easy to put together, great with ramps in place of the leeks as well.
  • MS112628996
    28 JUN, 2011
    Made this when it appeared in the May '11 Everyday Food. Sounds like a weird combination with lettuce as a prime ingredient, but you don't get it til you try it. This ranks as one of my favorite [and easiest!] pasta dishes!