$5 Dinner: Fettucine with Brussels Sprouts
Did you grow up hating brussels sprouts? For me, brussels sprouts were an instance in which the reputation of the vegetable overshadowed my own experience. Because they were so publicly maligned, I assumed I wouldn’t like them. If they were famous for being stinky, soggy orbs, why should my experience be any different? Come to think of it, I don’t even remember ever being served brussels sprouts as a kid. Probably every adult I knew thought the smear campaign had been so effective, why bother?
I can’t be sure when the turnaround happened. Maybe it was in college, or maybe it wasn’t until my mom and sister started roasting them with lots of olive oil and garlic in a hot oven until they emerged brown and caramelized in places, transformed like Cinderella, from a humble cruciferous vegetable into something so seemingly decadent.
In fact, maybe brussels sprouts are the ideal makeover subject, easily taken from lowly to lovely. As you might expect, something magical happens in this fettucine recipe. Since I ate delicious brussels sprouts at Chicago’s Feed, I’ve known that something special happens when you slice these guys, rather than halving them or leaving them whole. Add butter and pine nuts, and somehow the result becomes otherworldly. This is another fine appearance of an alchemy recipe, a creation in which the final product is so much more than the sum of its parts. This pasta comes together in a jiffy, perfect for a weeknight, and is at once vibrantly green, seductively simple, and delightfully buttery.
If you feel, for some reason, that you are not a brussels sprouts fan, I encourage you to give this recipe and this vegetable another shot. Like a bad movie in which an obviously gorgeous girl is transformed into a prom queen just by losing her glasses, looks can be deceiving.
Fettucine with Brussels Sprouts
adapted from Gourmet
10 ounces brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
8 ounces dried egg fettuccine
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
Slice brussels sprouts in a food processor fitted with slicing disk.
Cook fettuccine in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until foam subsides, then cook pine nuts, stirring, until golden. Add Brussels sprouts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then sauté over medium-high heat until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
Reserve 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta and add to skillet, tossing with enough reserved water to moisten.