Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sprouting Thoughts--Fettuccinie with Brussel Sprouts and Cauliflower


Every now and then I get the urge to just have vegetables for dinner. Forsake meat for a toothsome cauliflower, some sweet potato or the much reviled Brussels sprouts. The last one is by far is my favorite. Brussels sprouts and Thanksgiving kind of go together, but in my kitchen it has a year round presence. Halved or quartered and stir-fried with a chili sauce. Slivered, they take the place of cabbage in a mustard spiced subji. Roasted whole with a coating of olive oil, they make a perfect side for pork chops. They pop up in restaurants menus. At Uchiko, in Austin Paul Qui does a mean roasted Brussels sprouts. And I love fall, when you can buy them fresh on their stalks. Short of having a vegetable garden, these stalks are the next best thing. The novelty of picking them off the stalk thrills me. Odd things like this please me endlessly! 

November is a ways off, so the carton has to suffice.. I peel off the cellophane wrap. I slice the sprouts in half. Today they go into pasta along with another favorite, cauliflower.


Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower.
Serves 4


2 cups Brussels Sprouts
2 cups Cauliflower florets
3 tablespoons Olive oil
2 tablespoon Garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
8 oz. fettuccine
Several grinds of Pepper 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Remove the outer leaves from the sprouts. Slice them in half.

Clean and trim the cauliflower florets.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in non-stick pan. Keep the pan on a high flame for a quick sear.

The Brussels sprouts go into the hot oil. Saute for 7 to 8 minutes till they turn golden brown. Remove from pan and keep aside.

Add 1 teaspoon olive oil, wait 20 seconds till it heats up and add the cauliflower. Stir the florets well and sauté for 7 to 10 minutes till they are tinged golden brown.

Return sprouts to the pan with cauliflower along with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Cover the pan and steam cook the vegetables for 5 minutes.

Bring a large pan with water to boil.

Add 3 tablespoons of salt to water and add fettuccini. Bring back to a boil and cook for 8 or 9 minutes.

Save 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Drain pasta and add to cooked vegetables.

In a small pan heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add Panko crumbs to pan and stir till they turn golden brown.

Add pasta water to vegetables.

Season with remaining teaspoon of salt and grinds of pepper.

Blanket pasta with Panko crumbs and Parmesan cheese.

Toss well and dig in!



Notes

I like egg fettuccine for the texture. You could use any pasta you like.  I have made this with oricchiette and penne too.

I try not to use an entire packet of pasta. Half is quite sufficient for this recipe. 


Vegetables are not always popular at my table especially if they stand alone, but this pasta, blanketed with crunchy crumbs and salty cheese, is the perfect antidote to a meatless meal. A glass of wine, a green salad and bread is a fine way to end the day.