Leek and macaroni loaf with fresh tomato sauce


  • 700 g leeks, 6 with outer layers removed and reserved, the remainder thinly sliced
  • 100 g macaroni or penne rigati (ridged penne)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 g watercress, trimmed
  • 1 cup (250 g) cottage cheese, drained
  • ½ cup (50 g) freshly grated parmesan
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 medium–sized slice soft grain bread, about 30 g
  • 2 teaspoons English mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • watercress sprigs to garnish
  • Tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 500 g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil over a high heat.
  3. Cook the outer layers of leek for 3–4 minutes or until softened.
  4. Use a slotted spoon to remove the leeks, and rinse them under cold water.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Add the pasta to the pan, bring the water back to the boil and cook for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
  7. Drain well.
  8. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a frying pan and stir–fry the sliced leeks over a high heat for 4–5 minutes or until all the liquid they yield has evaporated.
  9. Purée the fried leeks with the watercress, cheeses, eggs, bread, mustard, nutmeg and seasoning to taste in a food processor until smooth and creamy.
  10. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the pasta.
  11. Grease a 1 kg loaf tin and line it with the strips of leek, overlapping them in the bottom and up the sides of the tin.
  12. Use 6 pieces for the main part of the tin and a piece for each end.
  13. Allow the excess leek to hang over the edges.
  14. Spoon the pasta mixture into the tin.
  15. Level the top and fold over the overhanging leeks.
  16. Grease a piece of foil and use it to cover the tin, pinching it neatly around the edge.
  17. Half–fill a roasting tin with boiling water, then stand the loaf tin in it.
  18. Bake for 1 hour or until the mixture is firm.
  19. Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the oil in a small saucepan, stir in the garlic and cook for a few seconds.
  20. Add the tomatoes, basil, vinegar and sugar, and stir to mix.
  21. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  22. Purée in a blender, then press it through a sieve.
  23. Season to taste.
  24. Remove the loaf tin and leave it to stand for 10 minutes.
  25. Turn out the loaf and slice; serve with the tomato sauce.
  26. Garnish with watercress.

Serves 4
Preparation: 25 minutes, plus 10 minutes cooling
Cooking: 1¼ hours


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