Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer Pastas - Episode 2

I love brussels sprouts. They have a bad reputation as a kind of stinky, cabbagey vegetable, and most kids would turn their noses up at them. But to me, they are delicious little buttery bites of healthy happiness.

I have three favorite ways of cooking sprouts; one is to steam them and then mix them up with cooked sausage (recipe here), another way is to steam them and then cover them with caramelized onions and blue cheese (arguably not healthy at all), and the third is to saute them and add a shot of balsamic vinegar at the end.

So, the other night I was really craving the balsamic sprouts, but I did not want to deal with cleaning the pan when I was done. When you add the balsamic, a syrupy coating from the vinegar can harden onto the bottom of the pan, and it's very difficult to get off. So, I thought, why not try steaming the sprouts WITH balsamic vinegar on them? And that's exactly what I did. Added a little broccoli, pasta, and cheese, and I had myself a light pasta dinner with minimal cleaning up to do.

Method for these sprouts (and broccoli):

*Peal the outer leaves off the sprouts and cut off the hard stems.
*Fill a large pot about 1/4 full of water, and put a couple garlic cloves in the water.
*Place the sprouts in a steaming basket above the water, and season them with salt (not pepper), olive oil, and a generous splash of vinegar. (Generous because some of it will drip down through the holes of the basket, and you want enough to stay on your veggies.)
*Cover and steam for about 15 minutes from the time you turn the stove on, or until the sprouts are easily pierced with a fork.
*Serve over pasta with a teensy bit (or a lot) more olive oil, garnish with parmesan cheese, and enjoy!

This recipe is incredibly adaptable. You could easily do it with zucchini, carrots, broccoli, or any vegetable that you like to steam. The balsamic vinegar adds a flavor that is not too strong, and very pleasant.

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