Fettucini with Brussels

March 23rd, 2010 · 15 Comments · Dinner, Pasta, Picky Eating, Quick, Vegetarian

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.

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15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 rose // Mar 23, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I just found your blog and wanted to say that I love it!! I’m a single mom with a 2 year old and have really tried to make family dinner work for us (since it’s just him and me, we can be more flexible) – and I love your recipes, and general attitude. It’s in keeping with my favorite parenting/food book, “Child of Mine,” by Ellen Sattyr — the idea that we just need to offer good food, and all else (how much – and if) to eat, is up to the kids. I don’t always stay on “my” side of the line, but I try to keep telling myself that my job is just to put some decent food on the table, and the rest is up to him!

    So, long-winded way of saying thank you for a lot of new, simple, prettily-photographed recipes to try out for me and my non-vegetable eating son! Keep up the great work, and I can’t wait to see your book!

  • 2 jennifer smith // Mar 23, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    i know a little boy who will LOVE this! can’t wait to make it for him!

  • 3 admin // Mar 24, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Rose – I don’t know any parent who stays on his or her side of the line all the time and I am honored that you compare me to the great Ellen Sattyr! For readers out there dealing with picky eaters, “Child of Mine” is a great place to find peace of mind. Thank you so much for the tip.

  • 4 Lea Carmichael Richardson // Mar 25, 2010 at 9:45 am

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I never had brussels sprouts growing up, so it’s nice to make friends with them!

  • 5 jenny // Mar 25, 2010 at 10:07 am

    I’m so glad it was a success!!!

  • 6 Amy // Mar 25, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    delicious new way to make brussel sprouts (i made it as a side, rather than with the fettucine). i usually roast them which takes sooooooo long! would love to say that the kids liked them (i’ll have to try again) but i was thrilled that my picky-about-greens husband devoured them. thanks!

  • 7 jenny // Mar 26, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Yes — it’s easier that way, don’t you think? And so delicious. Thanks for writing, Amy!

  • 8 Livia // Mar 6, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Do you get comments notifications on old posts?
    Anyway, had to let you know after a LOT of time having this recipe in the back of my mind, i did it tonight and let me tell you, I LOVEEE it!!! Aparently i like brussels sprouts! Who knew? And the past is delicious, easy to make and quick! Perfect!
    Thanks for that!! :)

  • 9 Cathy // Sep 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I read your newsletter. Do I win Placemat Art?

    And this looks like a great meal for an overscheduled week. It must be Fall.

  • 10 Jana Dahlen // Sep 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    I read your newsletter. Do I win Placemat Art?

    I’m gonna try this one tomorrow night – looks great!

  • 11 Beth // Sep 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I signed up for the newsletter a couple weeks ago and was so happy to see it in my box this afternoon. I read your newsletter. Do I win Placemat Art?”

  • 12 Alain Arango // Sep 28, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Some generous “GLUGS”, I love that >_<
    First time I've heard, and I LOVE IT!
    Better than EVOO!

  • 13 Heather // Oct 24, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    I wish there were like buttons on your reader’s comments because I agree with the ones about learning to like brussel sprouts – yum! I’m not ready to introduce this recipe to the fam quite yet but I think it’s funny that my mom didn’t like brussel sprouts so, I never tried brussel sprouts until age 37. Oh, and I ordered Liverwurst all on my own this week from Fresh Direct. Old school is new again!

  • 14 Valerie // Oct 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I would celebrate pasta day by making this super simple and pretty healthy dish!
    At our house, we are rekindling our love affair with brussels – it used to be that we only ate them out at restaurants and were intimidated to make them at home. I always love seeing ways to incorporate my fave TJ’s products into easy dinners :)

  • 15 Robin // Oct 25, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Awesome! The entire family loved it. But everyone decided the addition of bacon would make it even better.

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