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Rotini with a Leek Saffron Sauce

The saying "the proof is in the pudding", well I believe when it comes to food, "the proof is in the sauce". The sauce of a dish makes or breaks it. I remember one of my first days of culinary schools was all about sauces, and rightfully so. We were sitting in the demo room talking about the chapter in our extremely large cook book that we had to read about the history of sauces, the mother sauces, and the varieties that can be made from the mother sauces. Then the chef pulls out this old black book with very fine print and it must have had 500 pages (okay maybe I am slightly  exaggerating, but you get the point). This book was all about sauces and the hundreds of varieties of sauces that can be made. I was seriously blown away from the abundant variety. 

Fat, spices, herbs, acids, and alcohol pretty much make up sauces. There are so many different varieties and flavors you can achieve with sauces. They enhance the dish tremendously. For this dish I wanted to step away from the traditional sauces we usually pair with pastas and instead make something very flavorful, extremely simple and will add variety to you pasta meals.

Yields 2 servings


1 leek (top portion removed and cleaned)- thinly sliced

1 teaspoon butter 

1 teaspoon olive oil 

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 tablespoons tomato sauce

A strong pinch of Saffron threads 

Salt + Pepper

Rotini pasta (Barilla)

Basil and Parmesan Cheese for garnish 


1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. 

2. Clean and slice leeks. 

3. Heat a sauce pan over low/medium heat with butter and olive oil. One hot add the leeks and saute for  about 2-3 minutes. 

4. One the pot of water is boiling salt the water and add the pasta, about 1/2 the box of Barilla pasta. Cook until al dente about 8 minutes.

5.  Add the tomato pasta and sauce to the leeks. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Add the saffron and let this cook while the pasta is cooking. 

6. Add the pasta to the sauce, and some of the pasta water to flavor and loosen the sauce. Gently toss together and adjust seasoning if necessary. 

Serve, garnish with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

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