SERVES 6 TO 8
Leeks, part of the onion family, were favorites of the ancient Romans and are still much appreciated today in Tuscan cooking. In this preparation the objective is to achieve a thick, smooth, and creamy consistency.
2 pounds leeks, trimmed and dark green leaves removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
4 cups hot chicken broth
2 tablespoons finely minced thyme
Fine sea salt to taste
Grinding white pepper
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for sprinkling on top
Cut the leeks in half lengthwise. Wash them well to remove any dirt and cut them into thin slices.
Melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan, add the leeks and cook them very slowly until they soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute. Slowly pour in the broth and stir to keep the mixture smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is soft and pureed-looking but not too thick, about 10 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the thyme, salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish and sprinkle with the cheese.
Serve the leeks in small bowls accompanied with slices of toasted bread.
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