When I was growing up brussels sprouts were a “punchline” food — like liverwurst and mushrooms, turning up in cartoons and sitcoms as dinner table fare kids classically hated. Things are different now — I literally can’t go a week without eating them and the girls don’t seem to know (or care) about its reputation as grown-up-only food. This recipe is a perfect weeknight dish — it takes only a few minutes. If you have a food processor on the counter, try shredding the sprouts before sauteeing. It makes them cook faster and also gives them a consistency that integrates well with ribbon pasta. (If integration is exactly what turns off the kids, of course, be sure to set aside some plain pasta before combining.)
Of course, my problem is not the brussels but the pasta — Phoebe will eat pounds of the “little lettuce leaves,” but won’t go anywhere near a noodle, so she’s allowed to have a piece of toasted baguette instead. Can’t win.
Fettucini with Shallots and Brussels Sprouts
2 to 3 large handfuls (2 cups) of Brussels sprouts, trimmed (buy the bag of pre-shredded kinds in Trader Joe’s)
1 pound fettuccini (or whole wheat spaghetti or any ribbon pasta)
red pepper flakes
1 small shallot, chopped (or a handful of chopped regular onion)
some generous glugs of olive oil
Parmesan to taste
Slice sprouts in a food processor fitted with slicing disk or chop thinly (or open your Trader Joe’s bag!) Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes and onion and saute about 2 minutes until shallots have softened. Add Brussels sprouts, a little salt and a twist of pepper, then cook over medium-high heat until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain fettucini. Add pasta to brussels and toss to combine, adding pasta water as needed to loosen. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.