April 18, 2012

Whole-Grain Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms

I am sort of a cookbook collector. It's not a huge collection, but definitely a tasty one. I recently discovered the Williams Sonoma Cookbook Club... my idea of a good night out. Once per month, they feature a cookbook and provide cooking demonstration/class comprised of recipes from the featured cookbook. I had the opportunity to go to a class this month, for my mom's birthday, which featured Giada De Laurentiis' new cookbook Weeknights with Giada. I really enjoyed the recipes they featured, and couldn't wait to explore my new book and see what else it had to offer.

Tonight, fueled by fresh spring produce and a desire for some comforting pasta, I tried out Giada's recipe for Whole-Grain Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms. Simple, bright, and filling- it was all that I was hoping for. I highly recommend this dish for a yummy spring (or anytime) dinner...

Whole-Grain Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms
Serves 4 to 6

1 pound whole-grain or whole wheat spaghetti
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound mushrooms, such as cremini, button or stemmed shiitake, cleaned and cut into thick slices
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (8oz) creme fraiche, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Toss with 1/2 cup of the cheese.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and the mushrooms are golden, about 6 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and garlic. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the sprouts are soft.

Add the creme fraiche, vegetable broth, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer and stir until the mixture forms a creamy sauce, about 2 minutes. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.

Pour the sauce over the pasta, add the almonds, and toss until coated. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and serve.

*Notes on this recipe: Yum! I only made a half-batch of this pasta, to avoid having loads of leftovers, and could have easily served 4 with what I made. I used spaghetti- as directed, but I will be trying penne next time. Since the sauce wasn't abundant, it was difficult to keep the spaghetti neat and easily mixed. I did not have creme fraiche in my refrigerator, and didn't feel like hunting some down, so I used what I had on hand- part-skim ricotta cheese. It worked well, but in the future, I will hunt down the real stuff to see how the intended flavors come together. The almonds were awesome- they added a little something extra which definitely shouldn't be sacrificed!

I hope everyone is having a good night! What's your favorite cookbook?!? Any suggestions for my library?

Recipe from: De Larentiis, Giada. Weeknights with Giada. New York: Clarkson Potter, 2012. Print.

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