Pasta with Leeks, Radicchio, and Bacon

by Heather on June 23, 2011

My favorite pasta starts with bacon.  Just as it should.

I mean in all honesty I have yet to meet anyone who says, “Ew, bacon is just gross.  Totally nasty.  Zero flavor.  I hate that stuff.”  I think that’s saying something since most people say that about almost any food for any given reason.

But bacon man.  It’s where it’s at.

It also has one of my most frequently underused ingredients that I just happen to adore:  leeks.  Leeks are sweet and savory and delicate and all things good in the onion world.  Not that I don’t love other oniony things – no, I adore them all.  But leeks are just so sublime.  Not to mention I feel super fancy when I cook with them…something about time-intensive veggies makes my heart go pitter-patter.  I feel like I’m back in the good ol’ days (the ones where I wasn’t actually alive) and people made everything from scratch and took a ton of time to do it.

It has radicchio.  Bitter, purple, and awesome are the three things that come to mind when I talk about radicchio which unfortunately is not often enough.  Methinks that needs to change soon.

So when you add it all together and toss some nutty whole wheat pasta and fontina cheese in the mix you get the kind of flavor explosion you only hear about in legends and myths.  But y’all, this is REAL LIFE.  Get excited!


(based closely on this recipe from Foodnetwork)

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 3 leeks, only the white and very light green parts, sliced thinly, soaked, and drained to remove the sand
  • 1 head radicchio, sliced very thinly
  • 1 pound whole wheat linguine
  • 4 oz. fontina cheese (although brie is quite insanely delicious as well)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan render the bacon down until it’s crisp.  Remove from the pan and keep 3 Tbsp of the drippings.  Saute the leeks in the bacon fat for about 5-7 minutes.  Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions, making sure to save 1 cup of the cooking water.  When the pasta is done add it and the one cup of cooking liquid to the pan with the leeks.  Toss to combine; add the radicchio and let it cook for another 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the cheese and let cook until the cheese starts to melt.  Serve immediately!

Real life tastes so good…especially with some extra bacon in it.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg June 23, 2011

Mmmm…great combo. I love the bitterness of radicchio! Have you ever grilled it? It’s ridiculously good.


2 Blog is the New Black June 23, 2011

Looks amazing, Heather!


3 Jessica @ How Sweet June 23, 2011

i don’t think i need to add my 2 cents on bacon. and this looks SO good. i almost got some leeks at trader joe’s yesterday then set them down. darn!


4 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen June 23, 2011

Love this combo. Delicious!


5 Lindsey @ Morningstar Project June 23, 2011

I sadly just had a conversation with a friend who told me she doesn’t like bacon in things. I was going to add it into a dish for a BBQ and when she told me she’d like it without bacon I was in shock. Seriously who doesn’t love bacon???? I don’t know if our friendship will withstand this travesty…


6 Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic June 23, 2011

Bacon really does make everything better. I’ve never cooked with leeks, I should soon! And the radicchio is so pretty, I kinda want to cook with it just to have something purple on my plate :)


7 brandi June 23, 2011

anything with bacon + leeks right now is on my radar :)


8 Estela @ Weekly Bite June 23, 2011

Looks amazing Heather!! I have yet to cook with leeks. Can’t wait to make this!


9 Kris | June 23, 2011

I am a pasta LOVER, but I have to keep it to Brown Rice pasta with this wheat allergy over here! This looks fan-freaking-tastic my friend!!!!



10 Salah@myhealthiestlifestyle June 23, 2011

I definitely think I’m in love iwth this recipe (with GF noodles,…obvi :-)) Love you!!!!!!!!


11 heather @ get healthy with heather June 23, 2011

I love bacon flavor added to meals… But lately I haven’t been into just eating it by the piece. Not sure what’s wrong?!

This dish looks great!


12 Tiff @ Love, Sweat, and Beers June 23, 2011

Yummy! I just tried leeks for the first time this spring. I enjoyed them but haven’t had any since; thanks for remind me!


13 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. June 23, 2011

love this post!


14 janetha @ meals & moves June 23, 2011

I am an odd one out and don’t really like bacon. Well, I love it IN things–so I would love this dish. But I can’t eat a slice of bacon by itself. It’s too salty. I love the flavor, I just wish it wasn’t so darn salty. That’s why I like it in things.. because the other stuff tones down the salt. Beautiful photos, woman!


15 Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum June 23, 2011

Yummy! I love the simplicity (and the cheeeeeeeese)! :)


16 Robin Sue June 23, 2011

Can you come over and cook this for me now, I am too eggs osted (hee hee) to cook for myself! How on earth do you find time to cook and blog all this great food so often?! You are amazing! Lovely photos all the time too.
Robin Sue


17 Heather June 23, 2011

aw, you’re too sweet! it definitely takes lots of planning, but totally worth it when it all turns out :)


18 Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food June 23, 2011

ohh I love the smoky bacon + bitter radicchio combo, so genius! :)


19 The Cilantropist June 24, 2011

Loving that shot of the uncooked pasta!

And you are right. Bacon is TOTALLY where its at. :D


20 Stephanie @ The International Cooking Club June 24, 2011



21 Urban Wife June 24, 2011

Radi-who?? Um. Clearly, I have been sheltered wayy too long. I’m a big fan of pasta explosions in my mouth. In a good way, of course. :)


22 Biz June 24, 2011

Yep, bacon should be on the bottom of the food pyramid – must eat lots! Looks delicious Heather! :D (not an onion fan, so I will look away from the leeks!)


23 The Food Hunter June 28, 2011

This sounds delicious. I love leeks and bacon..still getting used to the radicchio


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