This pasta is creamy without being heavy and filled with garlicky caramelised brussel sprouts. The crunchy toasted hazelnuts add texture and nutty flavour that works really well with those sprouts.
The idea for this dish came from a yummy meal I had for my friend Elyse’s 30th, we went to Rita’s and ate a feast of pizza, antipasto, salads and pastas. One of the pastas was an orecchiette with quartered brussel sprouts, hazelnut crumbs and a creamy sauce. This is my alternative take on that. Rather than making the sauce with cream I decided to make a roux and just use wine and stock, this way you get a little bit of creaminess but it’s not as rich.
I think a good amount of black pepper at the end is really important in this pasta, as is the squeeze of lemon to freshen things up. Lemon is definitely one of my favourite seasonings right now, it just brings out the flavours in spring vegetables and makes everything taste a little brighter. Can food even taste brighter? Sometimes I re-read this stuff and realise I sound a little ridiculous… and then post it anyway 🙂
What’s your favourite way to eat brussel sprouts? Are you even into them? I feel like it’s pretty widely accepted these days that they’re delicious and not horrible bitter flabby things but I don’t know, there’s probably still a tonne of sprout haters out there. Your hate of them doesn’t count until you’ve reached adulthood and are still against them though, so if you were a kid last time you ate them, give them another chance. Roast them or pan fry them in miso butter or fold them through this yummy pasta dish. Just give them another shot.
I’ve made this with bacon before and that’s also delicious, because bacon. But that’s probably more of a special treat for me. When I used bacon in this I diced it and crisped it up in the pan as my first step. I then used 1 Tbs of the bacon fat for frying the brussel sprouts, so much flavour! That said, it’s actually still really yummy without the bacon and it’s the version I decided to share with you all because it’s a lot healthier!
1 Tbs olive oil
500g brussel sprouts
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs flour
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable stock (or chicken or bone broth if not vegetarian)
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan
juice and zest of ½ a lemon
¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
extra parmesan for serving
Bring a large pot of well salted water to the boil.
Meanwhile, chop the stalks of the brussel sprouts cut in half lengthways and finely slice.
Put a large heavy based fry pan on medium high heat and add half the olive oil. Once hot add half the brussel sprouts and one clove of crushed garlic. Cook until they are just starting to get crisp and golden at the edges. If this isn’t happening you may have over crowded you pan, remove some and try again. Once a little golden and crispy remove and set aside. Repeat with remaining olive oil, sprouts and garlic. Remove and set aside with the rest.
Add pasta to the water and cook according to packet instructions. Drain, reserving a coup of pasta water.
Add butter and flour to the pan and whisk for a minute or two to cook out the flour. Add the white wine and simmer for a couple of minutes then slowly whisk in the stock. You do not want the sauce to be too thick just thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, if you’ve cooked it down to far add some pasta water to thin it out, you can do this from the pot while your pasta is still cooking. Stir through the parmesan.
Add the cooked pasta and brussel sprouts (reserve a few tablespoons for garnish if you like) to the sauce and stir through to coat the pasta. Add lemon juice. Add some of the reserved pasta water if it looks too dry.
Serve the pasta topped with the parsley, reserved brussel sprouts and hazelnuts, a generous crack of black pepper and extra parmesan.