yumblog - leek carbonara

As I had to line up outside the greengrocers in a long socially-spaced covid queue for over twenty minutes to buy, among other things, these three handsome leeks, I thought they should (in true Masterchef style) be made the ‘star of the dish’.

This is a modified, and in my ‘umble opinion, much improved Jme Oliver recipe.

yumblog - leek carbonara

Preparation time: 5–10 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Skill level: Easy
Serves: 2 hungry people


  • 3 leeks – finely sliced
  • 4 big fat cloves of garlic – crushed and finely chopped
  • fresh thyme and/or rosemary – a few sprigs, leaves picked from stalk
  • unsalted butter – large knob*
  • olive oil – a good glug
  • dried spaghetti – 170g is about right for 2 people
  • Parmesan or Pecorino cheese – finely grated – 50g plus more to serve
  • 1 free range egg – beaten
  • salt and pepper

First, trim, finely slice and thoroughly wash the leeks (they tend to be accompanied by mud).

Melt the butter in a large heavy casserole dish, then add the olive oil, chopped garlic and herbs.

When sizzling, add the leeks and 200ml of water, cover with lid and cook on a low heat for about 40 minutes, or until sweet and soft. (Stir occasionally and add a little more water if it starts to look dry).

Taste and season with salt and plenty of black pepper.

Meanwhile cook your spaghetti (cunningly timed so it is ready at the same time as the leeks)

Drain the spaghetti but retain a cup of the starchy cooking water.

yumblog - leek carbonara

This is what spaghetti looks like

Add the spaghetti to the leeks and remove from the heat.

Allow to cool for 2 minutes then add the cheese and beaten egg and quickly mix everything together (if the pasta is too hot the egg will scramble).

If the sauce needs loosening up, add a little of the pasta water and mix.

Taste and season.

Serve with an generous grating of Parmesan and salad (if you want).

yumblog - leek carbonara

Artist’s impression of what this meal sort of looks like. Since our (very expensive) camera was stolen on a Eurostar travelling through Belgium, Yumblog have had to rely on free stock images.

Verdict: A simple, delicious, sweet, rich and silken bowl of fortifying carbohydrate, making it the perfect midweek meal.

Other tasties to make with a leek are this Feta & Leek Borek, or for the more adventurous, this historically accurate ancient Roman Pullum Frontonianum.

Drink: Midweek temperance and anti-covid hydration.

Entertainment: We have now reached the semi-finals of Masterchef – really hope the dull smug rugby player gets knocked out soon.**

* Pnarf pnarf.
** He was.

If you enjoyed (rhetorical question, of course you did) the Christmas edition of Yumie Magazine, here are more from the archive: Issue one, issue two, issue four and issue five. Not entirely sure what happened to the third issue.


  1. Fantastic. Have leeks ordered for pickup at the market tomorrow ?

  2. Monsieur Binet Himself

    My dearest dears, you are back (and so am I…)! Wonderful to see old friends-yet-never-met back again. You were sorely missed.
    This carbonara was absolutely wonderful and practically inhaled it was so good, but alas too late I read your sound advice on temperance. But I did hydrate, oh did I ever hydrate.

  3. Bonjour Monsieur Binet Himself, good to hear from you – our most welcome and loyal of reader(s). After many false starts yumblog is indeed back again and, thanks to 10 glorious years of Austerity, we are meaner, leaner and filled with entrepreneurial spirit.

  4. Monsieur Binet Himself

    Ah, austerity. Odd how those who foisted austerity upon so many millions with reckless abandon now have a curious case of collective amnesia about it and plan to spend like mad – and not referring to the spending due to this crisis.
    A sad thing is that this current crisis has robbed one of being able to wish a pox upon their house, as it might be deemed a bit un-pc. But the sentiment remains the same, oh does it ever.
    Keep up the good work, it is wonderful to hear you are doing well.

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