Friday, January 8, 2010

Triple "B" Pasta

I have a problem. I love cookbooks. Fortunately, people give me cookbooks regularly as gifts, so I don't often need to feed my addiction. Occasionally, however, I have perused and purchased a new cookbook before I've thought through the consequences: namely, that I have now committed myself to making several new dishes in the coming days.

Several family members and friends have mentioned they enjoy America's Test Kitchen, which I think appears on PBS. I haven't seen the show, but spied an eponymous magazine at the grocery store the other day. (The Winter 2010 issue, to be specific.) Among the many promising recipes, I stumbled upon this pasta dish. The editors note that the recipe works because "...the [Brussels] sprouts integrate with the pasta." As a lover of sprouts and integrated pasta dishes, this had to be my first choice. (Even if you are a sprout skeptic, I strongly encourage you to give this a shot. It's wonderful!) I give you Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon, and Blue Cheese (plus a few improvised additions).

The Method

  • 3/4# Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced thinly (They recommend using a food processor, but it takes only a few minutes by hand.)
  • 5 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly (I used red onion.)
  • 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 C crumbled blue cheese (I used Kellie's Blue from Sweet Grass Dairy, salty and intense)
  • 1# rigatoni
  • 1/2 C walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 3 large turnips (my addition)
  • 1/4# mushrooms (my addition)

  1. Cook the pasta al dente while completing the next steps.
  2. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove bacon and drain off fat, reserving 2 TBs.
  3. Add reserved bacon fat to pot. Season with salt and pepper and cook the sliced sprouts and shallots (along with turnips and mushrooms, if using) until tender, 5 minutes. 
  4. Stir in cream and broth. Cook until sprouts are tender, 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese.
  6. Toss with the cooked pasta and garnish with walnuts.

The Result

Wow! As much as we enjoy Brussels sprouts, these were even better than I'd envisioned. (A little cream and bacon certainly helped.) The turnips were an excellent addition - they brought a little spice, snap, and sweetness to the dish. The mushrooms gave another layer of earthiness. Rigatoni holds up perfectly against the thick, rich sauce. You could be tempted to add chicken, which would be fine but is unnecessary. An excellent cold weather meal.

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Pam said...

I am so glad you finally realized you have a problem! LOL

I love that you love cookbooks.


p.s. this was super yummy!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim
with the leftover Haluski, add some canned or fresh crushed tomatoes and 3 or 4 beaten eggs. That would totally take the dish to another level and fill the belly well.
love, me

Jim said...

This is a great idea. I can see how that would work. We have some leftover, and will try that soon.

Anonymous said...

I like the way she words things...fill the belly.

Kudya Bwino Bwino (Eating Well) © 2009