Saturday, November 12, 2011

Beautiful Brussels Sprouts

Now that we are well into Fall and approaching holiday menu planning, there has been a lot of chatter about Brussels sprouts in various cooking magazines. This is good. Brussels sprouts really are versatile as more than a side-to-major-hunk-o’-poultry or other protein.

Earlier in the Fall I discovered how delicious they could be added to pasta. Here is what I did tonight:

Plan seven Brussels sprouts per person. If you have a Cuisinart, terrific. Use the finer blade attachment and slice them up after removing the stem ends. If you are using a knife, slice them as fine as you can. Be careful. They roll.

Render some chopped pancetta, about 2 oz. per person. After the pieces are brown, remove and save the fat.

Slice a small onion ( for two, a med. or large, for more people, or if you have them , a few shallots) and brown over medium low heat in a mixture of olive oil and a little butter and the pancetta rendering.

Chop up some kalamata olives. Chop up some garlic.

Start heating your well salted pasta water. I used fusilli for pasta. I am particularly pleased with the joyous springiness of this pasta. ( I plan about 3 oz. pasta per person)

After the pasta has been in the boiling water for about 2 minutes, put the sliced Brussels sprouts, the browned onions (or shallots), the chopped garlic, and all the pan oils and the pancetta in a preheated skillet. Add a bit of dried red pepper, too. Grind some fresh pepper in there. Toss over a relatively high heat. til crisp-tender, remove from heat. Drain pasta and toss in the Brussels sprouts mixture. Add the kalamata olives.

Add a handful of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve in bowls.

A full bodied red wine is nice with this.