I made pasta with Brussels sprouts for dinner last night. This hardly seems newsworthy except that, in my experience, most kids aren't that fond of those tiny cruciferous orbs. Mine weren't either, until I introduced them to bacon and Brussels sprouts, which just might possibly be their most favourite vegetable yet, save for corn.
I've learned that if I title food with the tastiest bit first, it seems much less horrible then expected. Brussels sprouts with bacon hardly sounds as enticing as bacon with Brussels sprouts hash. It's exactly the same thing, but the name makes it so much more favourable. And sometimes you just do what you have to do, if it means achieving some enthusiasm at the dinner table.
Since getting the seal of approval - clean plates - for the mini cabbages, I thought it might be high time we expanded our horizons, so I left the bacon out this time. I know that everything is supposedly better with a little crispy pork fat, but this time I was hoping the salty feta cheese would compensate for the greasy protein.
The dinner was hit. For me, anyways. The kids liked it well enough, and I bet if I tossed in a few chunks of bacon next time it would go down even quicker.
Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Feta
If you're a little leary about introducing Brussels sprouts to the kids, this is a good place to start. When chopped into a hash they resemble sliced leeks and are seemingly less offensive. Or so I'm told.
Slice Brussels sprouts in a food processor fitted with slicing disk, or alternatively chop them into a fine hash with a chef's knife. Set aside.
Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water.
While the pasta is cooking, heat butter and oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until butter is melted. Add the Brussels sprouts and 1 teaspoon sea salt, and sauté over medium-high heat until tender and lightly browned, about 4 minutes (If you like, feel free to cook the sprouts a little longer in order to completely caramelize the outer edges of the shredded pieces).
Reserve 1/4 cup pasta-cooking water. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet, along with the cream. Add some of the reserved pasta water and toss to combine. Season well with salt and lots of fresh group pepper. Top with crumbled feta and serve hot.