Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Casarecce con cavoletti di bruxelles

The above title sounds much better than what the English translation brings to mind. Casarecce pasta is a nice change from the usual penne or fusilli, but it's what's worked through the pasta that adds the excitement - Brussels sprouts. My god, as a vegetable they've been done a terrible disservice. What usually springs to mind is the overcooked, waterlogged and limp sprouts plopped onto the side of a plate at Christmas. This is what has put many people off, but done properly, they can be a real treat. Even finely shredded raw Brussels sprouts have a pleasant quite sweet flavor. Here they are cooked slowly to hold onto that flavour, and I promise, miles better than the Christmas afterthought they are often served as. True winter comfort food.  


Serves 2

200g Casarecce pasta
180g fresh Brussels sprouts
glug of olive oil
1 medium red onion
1 tin of tomatoes
1 tbsp dried sage
pinch of sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
juice of half of lemon
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
grana padano, grated, to serve

Fill a medium saucepan two thirds of the way with water and bring to the boil. Add a little salt and the pasta. Turn the heat down to a simmer and leave the pasta to cook for 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick. Drain, but save some of the cooking water.

Remove the stalk end of the Brussels sprouts and add to a food processor and shred finely. Add the oilive oil to the pan, over a low heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 7 or 8 minutes. Next add the sprouts and stir to mix thoroughly. Cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes until the greens start to go soft and tender. Add the tomatoes and stir again to mix.

To the vegetable sauce mixture, add the sage, sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Stir again and add a little of the cooking water from the pasta of the sauce is too thick, This will loosen it up. Just a tablespoon at a time, stirring until it is absorbed. Add the pasta and stir to coat thoroughly.

Plate onto serving bowls and top with grana padano cheese. Its light, fruity flavour really works well here. Surely one of the best Brussels sprouts meals you've had in years! :-D


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