Braised Leeks with Parma Ham

Braised leeks with Parma ham

With leeks still in season and looking fabulous, it seemed the perfect time to cook this dish, which is one of my absolute favourite pasta meals.

Leeks have a superb flavour, they are incredibly versatile and are one of the most utilised vegetables in our house. Leeks are perhaps most often used as a supplementary vegetable, where they perform an essential role providing support and flavour to soups, stews and other dishes. But when they take the lead – when they have the opportunity to shine – it’s possible to create something truly spectacular.

This simple pasta supper is an example of how to use leeks for the best. It really is important to use butter in this recipe (I’ve tried it with olive oil and the result genuinely isn’t as good), making sure that the leeks don’t colour before adding the wine and stock. The relatively slow cooking makes the leeks soft, sweet and sticky. The combination with Parma ham and Parmesan – both of which are sharp and salty – is just wonderful.

This recipe – which is based on one by Jamie Oliver – serves 4 to 6 people. I made half the amount stated here which was perfect for 2 generous supper portions.

Cut leeks into 1/2 inch slices

Recipe: Braised Leeks with Parma Ham


5 large leeks, outer leaves removed and thoroughly washed
1½  tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
A small glass of white wine
Freshly ground pepper
1 pint vegetable or chicken stock
12 slices Parma ham
2 handfuls grated Parmesan (or pecorino), plus extra for serving


Coat the leeks in the melted butterHalve the leeks lengthways and cut at an angle into ½ -inch slices.

Heat a wide saucepan, add the butter and melt over a medium heat. Add the garlic, thyme leaves (leaving some for a garnish), and leeks. Stir gently so that all the leek is coated in butter. Pour in the wine and stock, and season with pepper. Cover the leeks Slice the parma ham and return it to the panwith the Parma ham, place a lid on the pan and cook gently for about 30 minutes, until the leeks are tender. Take the pan off the heat.

Remove the Parma ham from the saucepan, slice it up and stir into the leeks with the grated Parmesan. Season to taste with Braised leeks with Parma hampepper (the Parma ham, Parmesan and stock are all salty and there really shouldn’t be any need to add more salt here), and serve quickly over some pasta (I chose fettuccine on this occasion). Sprinkle over some extra Parmesan and thyme leaves, and serve alongside a fresh green salad.

About Georgina

Originally from the South of England, I've also had homes in Australia (Canberra) and the US (Los Angeles). I've been based in the UK city of Sheffield for a couple of years now. My blog is about adventures with food - markets, ingredients, books, recipes, places I've eaten and other related experiences. It focuses on stories from Sheffield, South Yorkshire and nearby Derbyshire, as well as places farther afield.
This entry was posted in Food, Meat, Recipes, Vegetables and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Braised Leeks with Parma Ham

  1. Sam Han says:

    Looks delicious! I love parma ham on pizzas but sometimes it can be a little overpowering when served as is with some cheese on board. Will try your recipe 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply to Georgina Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s