Saturday, March 6, 2010
I love Brussels sprouts, but as a child I thought they were the nastiest stinkiest vegetable in existence. Probably because steamed was the only way I’d experienced them. I still believe most steamed or boiled vegetables are not edible. Though, as an adult, or as a big kid as my husband refers to me, I'm able to suck it up and eat what I'm served while my taste buds scream silently in protest. Or at least I don't spit them out impolitely anymore.
Nowadays I have a rule. The only darn vegetable I’m allowed to boil or steam is a potato! Ok, sometimes broccoli too. Everything else has to be grilled, sautéed, or roasted.
So my question is, WHY??? Why ever in the world did humans steam these things? They are so fantastic roasted, sautéed, or grilled. I wasted my childhood running from vegetables, but my own 8-year-old loves them now that I know what not to do.
I still try to choke down steamed vegetables when I visit my parents. I don’t think changing their ways is likely at this point anyway.
Radiatori with Sautéed Brussels Sprouts
2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1 lemon, divided
1 pound Radiatori pasta or other shape, plus 1 cup reserved pasta water
¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs, (Pulse some bread in a small food processor)
½ teaspoon and 1 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shredded Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese
Freshly cracked pepper plus more salt to taste
1. Prepare a bowl of cold water with juice of ½ a lemon (I threw in the lemon half with the water too), save the other half for the recipe. Rinse the Brussels sprouts and peel off the outer leaves. Cut about ¼ of the base off and discard. Slice into quarters and toss into the lemon water. Repeat with remaining sprouts.
2. Meanwhile bring heavily salted pasta water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water at the end of cooking time.
3. At the same time melt 1 teaspoon butter in a large nonstick skillet and add the breadcrumbs. Cook until golden and toasted. Remove from skillet and set aside.
4. Next, add the olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter, and ½ teaspoon salt to a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for a couple minutes until they start to shrink a bit. Add the onion slices a pinch of red pepper flakes and cook until the vegetables start to caramelize stirring often. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute until fragrant. Turn off the heat and squeeze the juice half a lemon over the vegetables.
5. Toss the hot vegetables together with the pasta, bread crumbs, and cheese. Add enough of the pasta water to make it a nice consistency. Add more salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Recipe based off a Brussels Sprout Pasta from Alice Waters' "Chez Panisse Vegetables". Photograph by Laura Flowers.