Linguine with Brussels Sprouts and Speck

"Pasta?  AGAIN?!"

That was the plaintiff cry from Bug a couple days ago.  But you know what horrible kind of mother I am?  I didn't care about her pasta prejudices.  It's finally cool enough outside that I can keep the pasta pot boiling for an hour and it won't make my kitchen unbearably hot.  I adore pasta in the fall.  Pasta, to me, means endless possibilities and a blank canvas.

So it's no surprise that I tend to go overboard.  Last winter, I made a deal with Bug that I'd limit my pasta dishes to only once a week.  Which didn't keep me from stretching it...I made linguine one night and then, two nights later, I claimed that risotto wasn't pasta - "it's rice."  Similarly, I tried to convince Bug that orecchiette was actually "ears," which - of course - she didn't buy for a second.  *shoulder shrug*

I maintain that I make the menu, do the shopping, and do all the cooking.  And most of the clean-up.  So they'll eat it and, by god, they'll LOVE it.

First up is this awesome recipe inspired by one I found in Saveur (which was created by Missy Robbins of A Voce): Linguine with Brussels Sprouts and Speck.

The joke in the family is that I say every recipe I make is "so easy."  Adam or Bug will say, "This is great!  So good!"  To which my standard reply is, "And it was so easy!"  And, like all things that are said too often, it has become an inside-joke in our family.  But this really is easy.  Not to mention that it's super kid-friendly - it was really easy to add just the speck and ricotta to Bug's pasta and then the Brussels sprouts separately to ours.

Lastly, I'll add that this is a different way to present Brussels sprouts.  By the end of the autumn, I'm so sick of roasted, flash-fried, and sautéed bee-sprouts.  This is a fresh alternative when you need a break from the same ol' same ol'.

Eat, drink, and talk them into pasta.

Inspired by Missy Robbins' recipe in Saveur

1 pound fresh or dried linguine
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces speck, sliced into ribbons (can substitute with pancetta or prosciutto)
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (can substitute with Parmesan)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Put a pasta pot filled with water on high heat and bring to a boil.  Put about 2 tablespoons of salt in the water.
2. Rinse the Brussels sprouts, trim the bottoms, and discard any brown or discolored leaves.  Cut into quarters.
3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add olive oil.  Add the speck and cook for two minutes, stirring until fat is rendered.  Add the garlic and cook for 15 seconds.  Add the Brussels sprouts and saute until browned, about 5 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add the chicken stock and rosemary.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Set aside.
4. Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain, reserving a half-cup of pasta liquid.
5. Add the pasta to the sauté pan and reheat over medium-low heat.  Add the butter.  If the pasta is too dry, add just enough reserved pasta liquid to moisten.  Stir in the cheese.
6.  Add pasta to individual bowls and garnish with a dollop of ricotta, a drizzle of good-quality olive oil, and freshly ground pepper.

NOTE ON KID-FRIENDLINESS: I make it kid-friendly in step 5.  Before adding the pasta to the sauce pan, I put a little aside in a bowl for Bug.  I spoon sauce on hers, sans Brussels sprouts, and add speck and cheese for garnish.  Done.

* A thank you for Classic Pasta for the recipe.  I tore the recipe out of my copy of Saveur but proceeded to lose it - I was relieved to find it online!


Vanessa said...

Looks absolutely scrumptious. I printed out this recipe to give it a try soon. Thank you and happy fall to you!

carina said...

You can never have too much pasta. That's my motto!

marjorie said...

this sounds divine.

as you know, i am of the pork-free persuasion, but the component-ness of this means i could let other people at prosciutto to theirs. and yay, a new use for brussels sprouts!

marjorie said...

oh, also i was missy robbins's camp counselor back in the 80s. camp ramah REPRESENT!

Carol said...

I plan on coming out in February some time and skating with you for sure.