Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blown Up - Pappardelle with Brussels Sprouts & Pine Nuts

Hurricane force winds in San Francisco! But it's cozy inside with candles lit, my boy lying on the bed and chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven. It really couldn't be nicer in here. Outside, it's another story. The storm was so intense, and the rain so abundant, that a transformer blew up under the street outside the theatre I work for. Luckily, no one was injured, but it did blow out both tires on a car going past, blow the manhole cover into about a dozen pieces, and it also knocked out all the power on our street. And so, no show tonight. The first time in years we've had to cancel. Not to mention the fact that internet and phones were also down. This creates some difficulties when trying to notify ticket holders that the show they're braving the elements to see will not, as they say, be going on.

But dinner sure did. Thankfully the power is on at my place, and the lines at Berkeley Bowl were mercifully short. And while this is not what we ate for dinner tonight, it is what I had the last two nights. Amber can attest to it's deliciousness, as we had it before our weekly Mad Men fix the other night.

This is my new favorite pasta. No, wait, I take it back. It's my new favorite dinner, period! I've only recently become a brussels sprout convert, but now I'm one of the faithful. This dish can turn any sprout hater the right way 'round. It's one I might soon try on my Father...maybe I won't tell him what's in it till after....

The brussels sprout hash is also terrific on it's own, and there might be a chunkier version of it making an appearance on my Thanksgiving table this year.

Whatever you do, don't skip the cream! It makes the final texture so velvety and rich. The lemon zest brightens it all just a touch. Take care to just slightly brown the nuts. There's nothing worse than burned pine nuts.

Pappardelle with Brussels Sprouts & Pine Nuts
adapted from Gourmet and Orangette

1 lb brussels sprouts, washed & trimmed
1/2 lb pasta
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp pine nuts
Porcini Mushrooms (optional, I think the woody/earthy flavor of these would go great, stirred in and sauteed with the hash)
1 tbsp cream
1 tsp lemon zest
salt & pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta, meanwhile, put the brussels sprouts into a food processor with the slicing attachment. Pulse until all the sprouts are coarsely chopped, about 10-15 seconds. You'll want to cook the pasta first, and start on the brussels sprouts about 5 minutes before the pasta is done. At that point, place a heavy saute pan over medium heat. Add the butter and the olive oil. At this point, you can either cook the pine nuts in the saute pan for about a minute while stirring or toast them in a toaster oven (my preferred method). Add the brussels sprouts to the saute pan with the nuts, and a bit of salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook until the sprouts are slightly tender and just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the cream. Toss the brussels sprout mixture with the pasta and top with lemon zest and Parmesean. Serve while hot. Serve 4.


  1. This looks great! I feel like i always say that...

  2. Generally true, but it this case, I have to say, it is more than true. This is all about delicate, comforting and earthy flavors. It's not going to knock your socks off with blasts of garlic or red pepper or anything, it's just divinely comforting. The pine nuts and the saute really bring out the sprouts nutty flavors.

  3. Matt and I just made this dinner for the 2nd time - it's our new favorite!