Sunday, March 22, 2009

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Pine Nuts, and Dates

I LOVE brussels sprouts. I’m convinced that people who don’t like them just haven’t had them prepared correctly. I think this about a lot of foods, but I can discuss another time in different post...

I’ve made it a personal mission recently to get people to like them. I was out to dinner with my friend Katie at Hub 51 a couple of weeks ago and got her to agree to order the brussels sprout salad for an appetizer. She was skeptical**, but I wound up having an “I told you so” moment after we cleaned the plate :). Rather than cut up sprouts, they had taken the individual leaves off, blanched them, and tossed them with dates, almonds, Manchego cheese, and a mustard vinaigrette. It was delicious. Katie liked the salad so much, in fact, that she decided to make it for her lunches the following week.

Long story short: Katie made the salad and then decided she didn’t like brussels sprouts as much as she had originally thought, which meant I had a couple of pounds of blanched brussels sprouts to play with. Yum.

Inspired by the salad at Hub 51, I came up with this brussels sprout pasta dish with pine nuts, dates, and parmesan:

Sidenote: I’m not very good about measuring when I cook, but I did my best to approximate!

Pasta - 1/2 box
- I used spaghetti because that’s what I had on hand, but I think I’ll actually use fettuccine next time
Brussels Sprouts – about 2 cups
- The one I used just happened to be blanched, but this could definitely be made without that step
Grated Parmesan Cheese – about a handful, to taste
Dates – ¼ cup, chopped
Pine Nuts – ¼ cup
Chopped Garlic – 1 clove

1. Toast the pine nuts by putting them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant and golden brown. Set them aside.
2. Boil the pasta water. Put the dates in a bowl and add some of the hot pasta water. Set aside to soak for 5 minutes or so and then drain.
3. Cook the pasta until al-dente. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water when the pasta is done cooking.
4. Heat a mixture of olive oil and butter over medium-high heat (~1-2 tablespoons total). Add the brussels sprouts and chopped garlic. Cook until the sprouts are tender.
5. Add the soaked and drained dates and the pine nuts to the sautéed sprouts. Sautee for a minute or so.
6. When the pasta is finished and drained, add it to the sprouts mixture. Toss in the parmesan cheese and reserved pasta water. I added the water a little bit at a time, but ended up using about a cup.
7. Voila!

**Note: Katie would like it to be known that, despite not loving the brussels sprout, she does have a refined palate. She particularly enjoys duck and has a great taste for superior microbrewery beer.

1 comment:

Katie Held said...

Actually, now at least, I love brussels sprouts and have been known to eat them for days on end. I think I just don't love over-cooked brussels sprouts. Which is fair.