Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola, and Brown-Butter Pecans

I am not one to shy away from bold flavors.  Foods that are known for being either loved or loathed or some of my favorites, for instance brussels sprouts and gorgonzola cheese.  Which is why this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine is right up my alley!  Throw in some brown butter for good measure and this is one tasty pasta dish.  This is a heavy dish so a little will go a long way... trust me!

20 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed (4 cups) 
3-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil 
Freshly ground black pepper 
1 lb. dried orecchiette 
1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter 
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans 
2 large shallots, minced (3/4 cup) 
3/4 cup heavy cream 
4 oz. Gorgonzola, crumbled (1 cup) 
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, set a heavy rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 500°F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.
Fine Cooking's version
Slightly prettier than mine...
In a food processor fitted with the medium (4 mm) slicing disk, slice the Brussels sprouts. Transfer them to a large bowl, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss until well coated. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and spread the Brussels sprouts on it in a single layer. Roast, stirring once about halfway through the cooking time, until the Brussels sprouts are tender and flecked with charred bits, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette according to package directions until just al dente.
In a medium heavy-duty skillet, melt 1/2 Tbs. of the butter over medium heat. Add the pecans and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter is deeply browned and the pecans are toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, add 3 oz. (3/4 cup) of the Gorgonzola and stir until melted.
Drain the orecchiette and return it to the pot. Add the Brussels sprouts, Gorgonzola sauce, and lemon juice and toss well. Serve, sprinkled with the pecans and the remaining Gorgonzola.


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