RIGATONI CON PROSCIUTTO E PORRI Max cost £5.00, $8 Takes about 45 minutes

Pasta with leeks and ham Serves 5 as a main course

Leeks were invented for this dish. As a child my only encounter with them was a vile concoction of leeks submerged in white sauce. Yeeuucchh! That's one experience I would rather not dwell on.
TIP Substitute the ham with a grinding of fresh nutmeg for a vegetarian alternative.
This sauce does not keep.


Trim the leeks at both ends so that you are left with the white to pale green section. Slice this into rounds, about 6mm (¼ inch) thick, then wash and drain them (they can be full of grit). Melt the butter in a heavy pan over a medium heat, add the sliced leeks and stir them until well-coated with butter. Lower the heat, add the stock and simmer gently for about 25 minutes or until just tender. Add cream, chopped ham and remove from the heat. Season to taste.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente (start this when the leeks are nearly tender). Drain the pasta and transfer to a heated serving dish. Re-heat the leek and ham mixture and pour over the pasta. Add a tablespoon or two of the Parmesan cheese and toss thoroughly. Serve immediately with the rest of the Parmesan cheese.