A box of pasta kicked off this dish. Not just any pasta, though – another clever creation from podcaster (The Sporkful) and pasta inventor Dan Pashman, a curly volcano-shaped pasta named Vesuvio. (Though any spiral-shaped pasta will do here.) Dan’s mom, a Vineyarder, dropped off a box for me to try one day, and I had been thinking about making a pasta with lots of melty leeks, peas, some goat cheese and fresh thyme. I turned to my recipe for Curly Pasta with Broccoli, Sundried Tomatoes, Garlic-Chile Oil & Goat Cheese to remember how I combined a little pasta water with the goat cheese just enough to make it saucy. And that recipe gave me the idea to put sundried tomatoes in this recipe, too. So glad I added them; all the flavors here work really well together, but the sundried tomatoes definitely add a bright note.

(See serving and reheating tips below.)

Serves 2 to 3


  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces Vesuvio (Sfoglini), celentani, cavatappi or other corkscrew-shaped pasta
  • 2 1/4 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 3 medium leeks)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup (packed) thinly sliced oil-packed sundried tomatoes (well drained) 
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme, a few sprigs for garnish
  • 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled while still cold
  • 1/3 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Set a (footed) colander in the sink, and set a glass liquid measure next to it. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until firm-tender, about 10 minutes, or according to the package instructions. Take the pasta pot off the heat, and before draining the pasta, ladle or pour about 2/3 cup of the pasta water into the glass measure. Drain the pasta in a colander and let sit.

2. Put the sliced leeks in a bowl of tepid (not cold) water and let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Swish them around to make sure any loose dirt drops to the bottom of the bowl.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Lift the leeks out of the water with your hands and add them to the pan (with water still clinging to them). Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until much of the water has evaporated and the leeks are somewhat softened. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and continue to cook, stirring much more frequently as the leeks begin to brown, until the leeks are very shrunken and browned in some places, about another 5 to 6 minutes.

4. Measure out 1/3 cup of the pasta water (save the rest) and pour it into the pan. Quickly add the peas and the sundried tomatoes. Stir as the water simmers down to almost nothing (this will happen quickly). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped thyme.

5. Add the drained pasta to the pan, season it with ¼ teaspoon salt, and drizzle it with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Stir briefly. Add all of the goat cheese and most of the Parmigiano and stir well again until everything is well-distributed. Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of pasta water and stir again until the goat cheese loosens up a bit and becomes creamier. Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of pasta water if necessary.

6. Serve right away, garnished with the remaining Parmigiano.

Susie Middleton


Serving slightly warm or leftover...

The pasta is best eaten right away, but it is darn good even just slightly warm. As long as you combine everything while the veggies are still hot and the pasta is still warm, you can hold for a little bit. And I discovered that it can be reheated if necessary. (I’d do this for family leftovers, not guests). I had to reheat almost the entire batch from the photo shoot. I buttered a casserole dish and added a few tablespoons of leftover pasta water I’d saved to the bottom of the dish. (You could just use salted water.) I spooned in the pasta, spread it out, sprinkled a bit more water over, and covered. I reheated in a 350 oven for about 25 minutes.