Sunday, April 12, 2015
"April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."

- from "The Waste Land" by T.S. Eliot

"In April one seldom feels cheerful;
Dry stones, sun and dust make me fearful;
Clairvoyantes distress me,
Commuters depress me --
Met Stetson and gave him an earful."

- from "The Waste Land: Five Limericks" by Wendy Cope
Contrary to Eliot's dire prediction, today is the loveliest April day you could imagine. I don't know whether the rest of the month will be cruel or cheerful, dull or depressing: spring is a notoriously fickle season, and we'll probably get a bit of all those things.

Regardless of the weather, I do know that the leeks that make this fusilli so wonderful are at their best right now. You've probably noticed that I post more recipes by Susie Middleton than anyone else. It's because every recipe I've ever tried of hers is loaded with vegetables, and over-the-top delicious. She uses the freshest of each season's ingredients - in this case, leeks - and adds the flavours that will keep you coming back for more.

Now I'm off to enjoy this beautiful April day - dry stones, sun, dust and all.

Fusilli with Leeks, Baby Spinach and Mushrooms
(from Fresh & Green Table, by Susie Middleton)


2 Tbsp freshly-squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp heavy cream
kosher salt
2 Tbsp unsalted butter (first amount)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups thickly-sliced leeks (white and light green parts only), from 3 – 4 large leeks
8 ounces (225 grams) cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 1/2 cups dried fusilli, or other small corkscrew pasta
1 Tbsp butter (second amount)
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
5 ounces (140 grams) baby spinach leaves
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano


Combine the orange juice and cream. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put a colander in the sink and place a measuring cup next to it.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick stir-fry pan, heat 2 Tbsp butter and the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the leeks, mushrooms, and 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally at first and more frequently when browning begins, until the leeks are very soft and the mushrooms are browned, about 16 minutes.

Add the fusilli to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Take the pasta pot off the heat and before draining the pasta, pour 1/3 cup of the pasta water into the measuring cup. Drain the pasta and let sit, loosely covered. Add the pasta water to the orange-cream mixture and stir well.

Reduce the heat under the stir-fry pan to medium and add the remaining 1 Tbsp butter, garlic, and ginger. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until the spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add orange juice mixture and bring to a simmer (this will only take a few seconds). Remove pan from the heat.

Add drained pasta to the pan and season to taste. Add parmigiano and stir until well-combined.


Julie said...

We have an odd April, snow last Thursday. Didn't really stick but was enough to cover the ground. Crazy. T his looks delicious. Hubby's not a spinach guy, wonder if I could sub Kale, I think I will give it a try. Enjoy the day!

Gloria Baker said...

I love this plate with fusilli and spinachs Beth!
Aww I want my autumn and still doesn't arrive here!
But Im sure the spring will arrive soon there!

lisa is cooking said...

I'm a fan of Susie Middleton too. It's great to see her recipes, and this one looks like another winner!

Tricia Buice said...

How wonderful Beth! We are having beautiful weather this weekend and I sure hopes it lasts. It has been a blessing :) Pasta and mushrooms are perfect together and love the addition of spinach! Have a great week.

Linda said...

Great post, Beth, and this recipe looks very good! Thank you so much for sharing. As of yesterday Spring has finally sprung here in Montreal, Canada, it was slow in coming but it is beautiful now. No flowers yet, as the snow is still melting in some places but they will come pretty soon I am sure. :)

Linda said...

Great post, Beth, and this recipe looks very good! Thank you so much for sharing. As of yesterday Spring has finally sprung here in Montreal, Canada, it was slow in coming but it is beautiful now. No flowers yet, as the snow is still melting in some places but they will come pretty soon I am sure. :)

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Looks like a delicious combination!! I think Susie Middleton needs to be on my radar, too!

Angie's Recipes said...

I like veggie heavy dishes. This looks very tasty, Beth.
Have a marvelous week ahead!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I agree with you. April is so lovely. This looks like a great recipe. Thanks!

Barbara said...

Great dish, Beth. Looks like spring has finally come to you in the north. I hope it continues in normal fashion, so you can take pleasure in the buds appearing and new flowers of the season starting to bloom. You deserve it after the terrible winter.

Cakelaw said...

I like April, and I am sure I'd live this delicious looking pasta!

Monica said...

This weekend was gorgeous and it's extending into today. A lovely lunch of this pasta outside sounds dreamy.

Marcela said...

I love this pasta ... About the April... I kind of like it ;)

Jemi Fraser said...

I find April so much more cheerful than March. We had the nicest weekend for sun and we hit about 10 both days!!! The snow is really starting to go now :)

amy (fearless homemaker) said...

This sounds beautiful - packed full of bright, fresh flavor. I love cooking with leeks, and I always love pasta dishes, so I know I'd love this. Perfection!

Anonymous said...

Yum! This looks delicious. Enjoyed the April poetry as well.

Joanne said...

This pasta dish just screams SPRING!!

Kitchen Riffs said...

April usually brings us pretty nice weather (loads of rain, though), although sometimes it's crazy -- even snow! Anyway, love tasty pasta dishes like this.Looks like spring to me!

Unknown said...

It's a lovely April day here as well. I'm excited to get out and enjoy it.

grace said...

i think april is my favorite month, and not just because i was born in it. :) lovely post and lovely recipe!

Velva said...

Leeks are so under appreciated. This is a wonderful spring dish. Thanks for sharing it.

Happy spring!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

What a flavorful meatless meal! And though we've had a lot of rain this month, at least it's not snow! No complaints from me :)

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