Brussels sprouts. I love these little gems. They are hardy, available all winter, and when properly browned, they are earthy and delicious. Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, vitamin C, and protein. When combined with whole grains they offer a complete source of protein.
So I’ve been dreaming about Brussels sprouts ever since I ate dinner at a fabulous local restaurant called the Cookery, in Dobbs Ferry. They have some of the very best food in Westchester. I went during the week and brought the kids (it was my birthday, but let’s just skip over this part). My daughter, a somewhat picky eater, decided to order the Brussels sprouts and pasta. I tried to talk her into something else, cauliflower ravioli or lamb ragu maybe. Long story short, she did order the Brussels sprout and pasta and it was amazing. Nicely charred Brussels sprouts, crunchy breadcrumbs, and scamorza (a smoked Mozzarella cheese). Like I said, it was so good I have been dreaming about this dish.
Onto the recipe. Basically, I couldn’t wait. I ran home with my container of Brussels sprouts and went to work, immediately. I thinly sliced the Brussels sprouts, sautéed them in some olive oil and red pepper flakes, and deglazed the pan with a bit of white wine. I made some homemade breadcrumbs, finely diced and sautéed with butter. Then tossed together the Brussels sprouts, pasta (I used whole wheat), some of the cooking water from the pasta, and a bit more extra virgin olive oil. Topped it all with the breadcrumbs and freshly shaved Parmesan cheese. I ate the whole bowl in about 3 large bites, de-li-cious!
Then I did some research. And some more cooking. And a lot of eating. Here are two additional recipes that I really loved: Two peas and their pod.com made a version with brown butter and hazelnuts (great) and chef Philip Krajeck made a Carbonara and pancetta version (awesome) for Bon Appetite.com. My version uses a light and flavorful white wine sauce.
8-12 oz. pasta (cooked 1-2 minutes less than the box suggests), reserve some pasta water
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, should lightly coat the bottom of the pan
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
8-10 oz. Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced*
Salt and pepper
½ cup white wine
¾ cups chicken or vegetable stock
¼ cup pasta cooking water
2 tablespoons cold butter
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs**
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, liberally salt the water (it should taste like the ocean). Cook the pasta and reserve a cup of the cooking water.
Heat a large skillet (I tend to use a non-stick skillet) over a medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and when hot, add the red pepper flakes and sauté about 1-2 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts, season with a bit of salt and pepper and sauté until there’s some nice browning. Add the wine and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and water and simmer about 3-5 minutes or until reduced a bit. Remove from heat and mix in the cold butter.
Divide portion into 4 bowls and top with Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
* When I’m pinched for time I buy already sliced Brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s.
** Breadcrumbs: Take 1 slice of bread, dice it very small, sauté with about 1 tablespoon of butter, and season with salt, pepper and dried oregano.