fresh pasta with brussels sprouts, chilli, garlic, orange, feta & fried crumbs
Despite being with us for most of the winter, the poor old Brussel sprout is so tied up with the big feed on Christmas day that many of us ignore it until the big day. After that, a week of finding ways to use up leftovers often means the sprouts are forgotten again for another year. Well, they’re still out there and the good news is that sprouts are one of those green vegetables that improve after a touch of frost. Okay, that was a bit more than a touch but the sprouts have survived and they are especially delicious now.
Anyone who grows their own also has the bonus of the sprout tops, the loose cabbage head on top of the plant, which is also perfect for the recipe below.
Try roasting brussels sprouts, smothering them in blue cheese, sage and cream, or stirfrying them with ginger, tomato and soy sauce. Personally, my favourite way to eat sprouts is to slightly overcook them, leave them in the fridge for a couple of days and have them late at night with a bottle of beer, standing right there with the fridge door ajar.
This recipe is a simple way to knock up a quick dinner that has not only a bunch of flavours that go well with sprouts but also a combination of blood-cleansing, flu-battling ingredients that all of us need at this time of year. Take the chilli, garlic and green vegetable levels as high as you can stand and you’ll get through the next couple of months no problem.
6 cloves of garlic, thickly sliced
2 fresh red chillies, sliced, or 4 dried chillies, chopped
2 slices thick day-old bread, crusts removed
300g brussels sprouts, shredded
zest of two oranges
200g feta, crumbled
450g fresh tagliolini or spaghettini
In a wide pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat and fry the garlic cloves and chillies for two minutes, stirring, until the garlic is lightly coloured. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Put the bread in a food processor and pulse to get coarse breadcrumbs. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the pan and fry the crumbs over medium heat until crisped. Stir into the garlic and chilli mix.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and keep on a simmer.
Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the frying pan and fry the red onion and brussels sprouts over medium heat, stirring and occasionally adding a little of the simmering water, for 4-5 minutes until the sprouts are tender.
Drop the pasta into the water and simmer for 2-3 minutes until just done. Drain and add the pasta to the greens with the orange rind and half of the feta. Stir briefly so the feta partly melts, then serve in shallow bowls. Top each with some of the spiced breadcrumbs and finish with the remaining feta.