It’s not often that I make dinner and it is even more infrequent that Will and I make dinner before the sun sets. But I had the opportunity to make this spectacular dinner for Will one weekend night while he was working on his thesis. I had promised him I would do more cooking while he’s in his crunch writing time, but alas I have not done a good job of keeping up my end of the deal. I felt it was necessary to make up for my disappointing behavior by making a truly wonderful dish, full of distinctive flavors and that required ingredients I had not utilized before, myself. Ultimately, Will needed a break from writing his paper and decided to help with some of the steps, so we got to enjoy spending a much-needed break in our kitchen together. And the result? Absolutely wonderful.
I can’t say enough good things about this dish! Because it lacks a creamy sauce, it tastes like a “healthier” pasta meal, though with all the butter, I’m not sure it can truly be categorized as such. But the combination of brussels sprouts and hazelnuts is divine. We realized that while we eat a ton of Nutella, neither one of us is sure we have eaten a hazelnut before. Well now we have and we can vouch for why Nutella is so fabulous. Hazelnuts are such a treat! I probably wouldn’t be inclined to snack on them for a 3PM energy boost like I do with almonds, but I certainly will be on the lookout for more recipes that include them, if I don’t decide to just try and make my own Nutella at home. If you’ve never had one, use this recipe as an excuse to try hazelnuts! And if you’re afraid of brussels sprouts or don’t know what they taste like outside of a roasted form, then this is a great introduction for those too. More posts like this are coming soon….we promise!
Cooking Notes: I used dry hazelnuts from Trader Joe’s. I also chose to use fusili pasta when the original recipe recommended orichette. I also changed up the order in which certain steps were done, which is reflected below.
Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts (serves 4; adapted from Two Peas in Their Pod)
6 tbsp butter
8 oz. whole wheat pasta of your choice
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp shallot, minced
2 cups chopped brussels sprouts, stems removed
1/3+ cup Parmesan cheese
S&P, to taste
Begin by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. You can work on the next steps as you wait for water to boil. Once water boils, sprinkle in some salt, then add the pasta, cooking until al dente (not quite the full recommended time for whatever pasta you select). Once al dente, drain and set aside.
While you wait for your water to boil, begin to brown your butter – take a small saucepan and warm it over medium-low heat. Once warm, add butter and begin melting, watching carefully and stirring occasionally, until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove from heat, skim foam from the top and pour into a separate bowl to stop cooking; set aside.
As the pasta cooks and the butter browns, bring a small saute pan or small cast iron skillet to medium heat. Pour in hazelnuts and toast them until the become lightly browned and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes. Place hazelnuts on a towel and rub until most of the skin is removed, then roughly chop and set aside.
Once butter and hazelnuts are prepared (pasta should be resting and draining), heat a large pan of medium-high heat. Drizzle olive oil in, then add the garlic and shallot, cooking for 2 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the pasta and hazelnuts, then drizzle browned butter evenly over top of the mixture, stirring carefully to coat all the pasta and sprouts with butter. Cook until pasta is reheated, then stir in the Parmesan cheese and season with S&P. Serve with additional Parmesan and enjoy!