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Creamy Bacon and Leek Pasta

This creamy bacon and leek pasta is an easy and delicious weeknight meal. Ready in just 30 minutes, it’s perfect for a busy weeknight! Made with just a few simple ingredients, this dish will please the whole family, and it is a great way to use seasonal leeks. 

A dish of pasta with bacon bits on top.

Whether you are looking for a delicious side dish to serve with your Panko chicken breast or some skillet pork chops, or if you just want to make it a simple pasta night, this creamy leek pasta dish will fit the bill.

The leeks give the pasta a mild onion flavor, while the bacon adds a delicious smoky, savory element that really rounds out the dish.

If you haven’t used leeks before, check the recipe notes to learn how to clean them. They can hold grit between the layers so you need to wash them before you begin. Don’t let that intimidate you though. You will love how easy leeks are to work with.

If you want more leek recipes, check out our potato leek soup, einkorn pasta bake, or our leek and goat cheese quiche.

Here is Why This Recipe Works

  • Leeks add a sweet, mild onion flavor that goes well with the bacon and cheese. 
  • Sauteeing the leeks gives them a tender, buttery texture. 
  • Using only the white and light green portion of the leeks will ensure they are not tough.
  • Dijon mustard adds a complexity that balances the flavors of the creamy sauce. 
  • The sour cream has a mild tang and contains less fat and calories than heavy cream.

The Ingredients for Bacon Leek Pasta

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

  • Penne pasta
  • Bacon
  • Leeks
  • Garlic cloves
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • White wine
  • Sour cream
  • Gruyere cheese
  • Dijon mustard
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano

How to Make It

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with the recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

  1. Cook the pasta and reserve some of the water before you drain it. 
  2. Saute the bacon. Drain the fat and saute the leeks. Stir in the garlic and seasonings. 
  3. Deglaze the skillet with wine, then add the sour cream, cheese, and Dijon. 
  4. Stir in the pasta and pasta water.
  5. Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Leek and bacon pasta in a skillet.

Tips for Success

  • Dirt can accumulate between the layers of leeks, so clean them thoroughly. Cut off the root and the dark green portion. Slice them lengthwise, then cut them into thin half-moons. To remove the grit, soak them in a bowl of water and stir them around so the dirt falls off
  • Salt the pasta water liberally. Use about one tablespoon of salt for every three quarts of water. 
  • If you don’t want to cook with wine, substitute it with chicken broth
  • You can substitute the Gruyere cheese with Jarlsberg, Fontina, Gouda, or Edam cheese. All of them taste great in this pasta dish.
  • Use full-fat sour cream for best results. Reduced-fat sour cream will curdle pretty quickly. However, you can stir 1-1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch into reduced-fat sour cream to help prevent it from curdling.
  • If you want to use Greek Yogurt instead of the sour cream, stir 1-1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the yogurt before adding it to the sauce. Since yogurt is lower in fat, it curdles easily. The cornstarch helps prevent curdling.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will leftovers keep?

You can keep leftovers stored in the fridge for three days. The pasta will soak up some of the sauce. Add a splash of milk or chicken broth before you reheat it. 

What happens if you don’t salt pasta water?

If you don’t salt the pasta water, your entire dish will taste like it was not seasoned well (even if the sauce is well salted). 

What can I serve with this leek pasta dish?

Our sugar snap pea salad or a simple wedge salad would be great with this pasta. Steamed broccoli or roasted asparagus would also be nice. If you want a heartier meal, add a meaty main dish like baked chicken quarters or an easy meatloaf.

A fork scooping up some pasta and bacon.

This creamy bacon and leek pasta is a quick and easy weeknight meal ready in 30 minutes. It’s made with just a few simple ingredients, and it’s perfect for the whole family. 

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Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:

Our Bucatini alla Carbonara is almost like having bacon and eggs for dinner. We simplified the recipe for a no-fail, creamy sauce. Serve it with some garlic bread and an Italian Caprese Salad.

Our chicken skillet pasta is a one-pot meal that is loaded with chicken and vegetables. All you need is a slice of crusty bread to sop up the creamy sauce.

This chorizo and shrimp pasta is a restaurant-style dinner that’s ready in under 30 minutes, and it’s packed with flavor.

Pasta with leeks and bacon.

Leek and Bacon Pasta

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

The combination of leeks, bacon, sour cream and cheese makes for a delicious and creamy pasta sauce that is comforting and flavorful.

Make sure you rinse the leeks well since they can contain grit (see notes).

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 8 – 10 slices of bacon, chopped
  • 2 leeks, sliced and rinsed clean**
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions and save about 1 cup of pasta water before you drain the water. Make sure you salt the pasta water liberally (use 1 tablespoon of salt for every 3 quarts of water).
  2. Saute the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes. Pour off the bacon fat then add the leeks and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes until tender.
  3. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes to burn off the alcohol.
  5. Reduce the heat and stir in the sour cream, cheese, and dijon mustard. Stir until the cheese melts.
  6. Stir the pasta into the sauce until well coated. Add 1/4 cup to 1 cup of pasta water until you have the consistency you like. Check the seasoning and add salt if necessary.
  7. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Notes

  • If you don't salt the pasta water when you cook the pasta, you will end up with bland pasta in a flavorful sauce. I can't stress what a difference it makes to add plenty of salt to the pasta water.
  • Leeks can have dirt between the layers, so it is important to wash them thoroughly. Cut off the root and the dark green portion. Slice them in half lengthwise then slice into thin half-moons. Soak them in a bowl of water and stir them around a bit to loosen the grit. Drain in a colander after you rinse them.
  • If you don't want to cook with wine, replace the wine with chicken broth.
  • You can substitute the Gruyere cheese with Jarlsberg, Fontina, Gouda, or Edam cheese. All of them turn out great in this pasta dish.
  • If you want to replace sour cream with Greek Yogurt, first dissolve 1-1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch in the yogurt and then combine it with the sauce. Since yogurt is lower in fat than sour cream, it will curdle easily. The cornstarch will prevent curdling.
  • Are you using reduced-fat sour cream? Low-fat sour cream will also curdle easily. Stir 1-1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch into the sour cream to help prevent curdling.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 344Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 704mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 15g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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This recipe was originally published on July 11, 2014. We updated the photos and added some helpful tips.

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John / Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 11th of May 2022

This looks wonderful! Love bacon with anything creamy, and I'll never, ever turn down leeks. Or pasta, for that matter. :-) Good stuff -- thanks.

Dahn Boquist

Wednesday 11th of May 2022

Thanks John.

Kate

Monday 26th of December 2016

A lovely post, Dahn. Loved the flavors withing this awesome dish! I just used low fat yogurt instead of sour cream. Best of luck with riding. Hang in there, and you'll become a pro soon!

Dahn

Wednesday 28th of December 2016

Thanks Kate, I bet this was delicious with yogurt

Carol at Wild Goose Tea

Saturday 12th of July 2014

Wow, sending you good vibes on the bicycle. Its been awhile since I have been on a bike myself. I do live in a small town that has a leash law, but I still found myself getting chased by dogs. Too unnerving. And I like dogs---just not chasing me when I am on a bike. I love pasta. Of course anything with bacon is good. I don't allow myself to eat it anymore, except in bits like this wonderful recipe. So I really really do savor those bits!

Dahn

Saturday 12th of July 2014

Thank you so much for the kind words and good vibes Carol. I don't care for dogs chasing me on the bike either and have been wondering if I should carry some pepper spray. I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Cora

Friday 11th of July 2014

This looks very good! :-)

Dahn

Saturday 12th of July 2014

thanks Cora :)

cheri

Friday 11th of July 2014

What a lovely pasta dish, this is such a nice combination! Good luck on your riding, sounds like you are coming along quite well.

Dahn

Saturday 12th of July 2014

Thank you Cheri, I am really enjoying the bicycle

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