Recipes don't usually include leeks' dark green parts (too tough). But if you slice leek greens superthin and add a little extra cooking time, they'll turn tender and flavorful. Hugh Acheson, Top Chef judge and chef-partner at four Georgia restaurants, parboils leek greens, sautés them with applewood-smoked bacon and stirs in spaghetti, Parmesan, and eggs for an irresistibly creamy result.

Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 medium leek
  • 1/2 pound applewood-smoked bacon (about 8 slices), cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (about 3 ounces), plus more for serving
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves (from about 1/2 bunch), torn into small pieces


    Total time: 40 minutes

    Working against the grain, very thinly slice the dark green part of the leek. Rinse in running water, drain, and transfer to a medium bowl. Halve remaining portion of leek lengthwise and repeat, transferring it to another bowl.

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add dark green leeks and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer leeks to a colander, rinse in cool water, drain and transfer to a plate. Keep water at a low boil.

    In a large, deep skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until just crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and set aside. Return skillet with bacon fat to medium heat and add oil. Add reserved dark green leeks, cook 5 minutes, and then add remaining leeks. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 5 minutes.

    Add 1 Tbsp. salt to pot of boiling water. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente, 7 to 9 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together eggs, Parmesan, pepper and 1 tsp. salt.

    Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain spaghetti and transfer to skillet with leeks. Add reserved bacon and cook, tossing to combine, until very hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and quickly stir in egg mixture, tossing constantly to combine. (To avoid scrambling the eggs, keep the mixture moving.) Add reserved pasta water a few Tbsp. at a time as needed to keep pasta creamy. Add basil, salt to taste, and toss again. Divide among plates, sprinkle with Parmesan, and serve immediately.

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