This recipe is from Nigella's latest offering, Nigellissima under the chapter "An Italian Inspired Christmas". I can hardly say this is Italian, besides the penne and suggestion of using Parmesan, as this used Brussels sprouts and baking potatoes (which in my opinion is English). I also do not think many Italians (including my former Italian housemate), would eat penne pasta and sprouts around Christmas time.
I decided to give this recipe a try anyway, and decided to add bacon lardons and sauteed onions to enhance the flavour of this dish. Surprisingly the combination of the sprouts and penne (along with the butter and cheese) oven baked worked. But I am still not convinced that an Italian would eat such combinations!
Anyway, enough of my ramblings, here is how my dish turned out:
|Pasta with Brussels sprouts|
I first started by par boiling the penne pasta, sprouts and potatoes for around 10 minutes and then placed in an oven proof dish.
|Pasta and sprouts|
I then cooked the bacon lardons and onions in a small pan until lightly browned.
|Bacon and onions|
|Penne, sprouts and bacon|
|Bake pre baking|
Overall, an interesting evening meal, perhaps best made to use up the abundance of sprouts over the Christmas period.
Ingredients (Serves 8, but easily halved)
750g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
250g (1) baking potato, peeled and in 2-3cm dice
salt for vegetable and pasta water, to taste
250g Gruyere, in 1cm dice
50g soft unsalted butter
1x 15ml tablespoon garlic oil
50g grated Parmesan
You will need 1x roasting tin approx 25 x 36cm or 1 lasagne dish
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6 and fill a large pot with water to cook the sprouts, potato and pasta.
When the water boils, salt it generously, tip in the prepared sprouts, the potato dice and the pasta and let the water come back to the boil, then cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the potato is tender and the pasta al dente. Just before draining, remove 2 cupfuls of the cooking liquid and out to one side.
Tip the drained pasta, sprouts and potato pieces into a roasting tin then add the ricotta and diced Gruyere and a cupful of cooking water and toss well to combine. Add more liquid if you feel the pasta is too dry.
Warm the butter and garlic oil in a small saucepan and, when melted and beginning to sizzle gently, add the shredded sage and fry for about 30 seconds before spooning or dribbling the butter and crisp sage over the pasta bake. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the surface will be scorched a light gold.