Pasta with Sausage, Leeks, and Lettuce

Photo: Con Poulos
Prep Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

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.


  • ¾ pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed

  • 2 bunches leeks (about 3 pounds total), white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise, cut into ¼-inch slices, rinsed well, and drained

  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • ¾ 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.

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