I used to hate Brussels sprouts. Nothing against the Belgians, but I always found these little cabbages to be mushy and bitter. Then I met J, and realized I had better find a way to like them.
J loves Brussels sprouts. When we first met, that was on par with liking Lima beans – totally impossible. I managed to put off requests to make Brussels sprouts for a while, but eventually it had to be done. Over the last few years, I’ve had Brussels sprouts in dishes that made me change my mind. The first one I enjoyed managed to disguise the sprouts in cream, so I don’t think that really counts.
I hadn’t actually cooked fresh Brussels sprouts until I saw this recipe. It looked fun, and a little bit different from my usual pasta dishes. The addition of dried cranberries and caramelized onions sounded like a good idea. Most of all, it looked like something that J would like – and ended up being a dish that I really liked!
The cranberries, speck, onions and Brussels sprouts went really well together, despite sounding odd. It was a quick and easy dish to make (my favourite kind!) and is perfect for a weeknight dinner. It shows off the flavour and texture of fresh Brussels sprouts, without making them mushy. J loved it. It’s a keeper.
Next spring, I’m totally going to buy one of those Brussels sprout stalk dealies from a farmer’s market.
Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts, Cranberries, and Caramelized Onions
modified from this recipe from Serious Eats.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 slices speck, diced
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1-2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed, and halved vertically
- 2 cups mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 1 cup broth (a lighter variety, like chicken or vegetable)
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (I used vodka instead)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- 6 ounces fettuccine (dried or fresh)
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Salt and pepper
- Cook pasta, until al dente. When done, reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid
- In a deep sauté pan, fry the diced speck in a splash of oil until some of the fat has been rendered.
- Add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down. Cook, making sure not to stir them, until they are browned, about two minutes.
- Add the onion slices, stir, and cook until the onions are translucent.
- Add the mushrooms and garlic, and cook until the liquids are released and mushrooms begin to brown.
- Pour in the wine, and quickly stir to deglaze the pan. Add the broth and dried cranberries.
- Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the Brussels sprouts are very tender, about 10 minutes.
- Toss the cooked pasta into the pan along with the reserved pasta water. Turn heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until the pasta is well coated and the liquid has evaporated, one to two minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with grated Parmesan.