Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spicy Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Squash with Fresh Ricotta

 As I've mentioned, I'm a bit backlogged with posting, so I made this one back on Halloween night. It seems fitting to post it now though, given that I'm nostalgic for brussel sprouts. Yup, you read that right, nostalgic for brussel sprouts.

This is a very ugly looking recipe, but it tastes fantastic. My husband, who does not like brussel sprouts, likes these brussel sprout, as the roasting removes a lot of the bitterness. Growing up, brussel sprouts were on the Thanksgiving menu every year, and every year I gobbled up the mini-cabbages. I'm also nostalgic for brussel sprouts because it reminds me of 3 meals featuring brussel sprouts I've had at some awesome restaurants:

1. The brussel sprouts with ricotta salada that used to be served as part of the verdure miste at Lupa in NYC.
2. Brasserie in St. Louis's gnocci with brown butter, squash and brussel sprouts.
3. The roasted brussel sprouts served as a side dish at 1111 Mississippi in St. Louis.

Still not convinced that brussel sprouts can be fantastic? 1111 Mississippi routinely runs out of this side dish. Roasted brussel sprouts can be that good. This recipe combines some of my favorites aspects of each of the above restaurant meals: the ricotta and crushed red pepper of Luna, the addition of squash from Brasserie, and the roasted sprouts of 1111.

Listened to: Halloween Party Mix on Pandora. Don't judge, keep in mind I made these back on Halloween!

Spicy Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Squash with Fresh Ricotta
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, and cut into chunks
  • 2 C brussel sprouts, washed, halved if large 
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper 
  • 1/2 C fresh ricotta
  • 1/3 stick butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 4 C rigatoni or other short pasta shape, cooked 
1. Preheat oven to 400.  Drizzle, or spray, some olive oil in a roasted pan so there's a thin coating on the bottom.  In a medium bowl, toss the butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil, enough so that the squash cubes are lightly coated. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and place in the oven. 
2. While the squash is cooking, toss the brussel sprouts in the same bowl as used for the squash. Drizzle with olive oil and toss, sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
3. After the squash has cooked for 10 mins, stir, and add the brussel sprouts. 
4. While the sprouts are cooking, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Allow to brown a bit, then add the minced shallot. Sautee for about 10 mins or until soft. 
5. Once the shallots are done, stir the squash and brussel sprouts again. Continue baking until the squash is fork-tender, and the sprouts have begun to caramelize, about 30 mins total for the squash, and 20 mins total for the sprouts. 
6. Pour the cooked pasta into a large bowl. Mix in the sauteed shallots and butter, the brussel sprouts and squash, the ricotta and crushed red pepper, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Combine well, and serve immediately. 

                                           Yes, it's not the most appetizing looking, but it's yummy!

Verdict? I am really looking forward to making this again! I'd prefer to make it with gnocci, and will next time, but I had pasta to use up in the fridge. Brussel sprouts and squash pair beautifully together, and this pasta dish has a nice sweetness and spice and is creamy without being heavy or overly decadent. It warms that house and is an ideal fall dish. Now, get over your fear of brussel sprouts!

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