Holding an asparagus spear in both hands, bend the spear until it breaks naturally at the point where the spear becomes tough. Discard the tough end and repeat with the remaining asparagus. Cut the asparagus into 1-inch lengths.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
While the water heats, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat and cook the pancetta
until the pancetta is almost crisp
, about 5 minutes. Add the leek and saute until softened but not colored.
Add the asparagus
to the boiling water and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain
and add to the skillet. Season mixture with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Serve as a first course or as an entree with Eggs en Cocotte.