Cavatappi with Browned Brussels Sprouts

Last night, Steph and I created what may from now on be known as the best pasta dish in the world. Even if you are thinking that you don’t like brussel sprouts or you would prefer to eat pizza every meal, I would strongly suggest that you try this out. Trust me, I’ve been in your shoes.

This is an adapted recipe from Cooking Light. The adaptations we made because I can’t follow directions 100% through to save my life (See my future post on bread pudding, calling for a baguette minus at least 10 bites taken in the grocery store parking lot). You can find the original recipe (for the pasta) here

The first thing I did was start cooking the pasta. The recipe calls for cavatappi and I think the texture was just perfect, but who says you aren’t one to cut corners?

There are no pictures of the process because Stephanie was on the phone. Not only were there no pictures but when the recipe called for 1 pound of thinly sliced brussel sprouts, I had no idea what that meant. In hindsight, Google was probably available but instead, I just followed my heart. I cut up the sprouts like cabbage and I thought that was perfect because I don’t like brussel sprouts. I sauteed three very large and very cut-up brussel sprouts for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, I diced and onion and two cloves of garlic. Once the brussel sprouts started to brown a bit, I added the onion and let the little guys cook until the onions were translucent and the brussels were a little crispy. Next I added the garlic and let it cook for about 30 seconds so that it wouldn’t lose its pungency.

The next step was to add about a cup of vegetable broth to the brussel sprouts. I mixed that in and put in some salt and pepper, basil and lemon juice. The recipe really called for a zested lemon as well as juice and fresh thyme but YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT.

While I waited for the broth to simmer off, I toasted a cup of Panko in a skillet until they toasted and cast them off to the side. I then heated up a tablespoon of olive oil and toasted up a half cup of pine nuts. I then proceeded to mix the pine nuts in with the Panko and low and behold, the veggies were ready to go!

Once the pasta is drained, it’s time to serve up some home-cooked realness. I combined the veggies with the cavatappi, shredded fresh Parmesan onto my serving, topped it with the Panko and finished it with salt, pepper and more than a few chunks of goat cheese.

The result? Perfection. It was just absolutely out of this world. One day, I’m going to marry this dinner. Stephanie was the one who wanted to make this meal and I really didn’t think I was going to like it, I wouldn’t even try it as I was preparing it. The end result was a perfect combination of textures and the goat cheese really paired well with the bitterness of the brussels.

Until next time, friends!

the original recipe is as follows 

8 ounces uncooked cavatappi pasta
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
4 teaspoons olive oil
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2/3 cup organic vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, shaved (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; keep warm.
2. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; swirl to coat. Add panko to pan; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add Brussels sprouts to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until onion is tender and the Brussels sprouts are lightly browned. Add broth and next 5 ingredients (through pepper). Cover and cook 2 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are crisp-tender. Add Brussels sprouts mixture to pasta; toss well. Sprinkle with cheese, pine nuts, and panko. Serve immediately.


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