Sunday, January 9, 2011

What I Made for Dinner: January 9, 2011

Pasta with brussels sprouts and bacon; marinated mushroom salad.

I find recipes in many unusual places.  In this case, it was a 2004 Martha Stewart Living magazine Alex found in the craft bin while we were looking for pictures of green things to cut out and glue onto a bucket.  We are making a green bucket.  It's a Cub Scout project, so we cannot just go and buy a green bucket.  Buying a green bucket would be ridiculous.  Instead we must make one out of a white bucket and many small scraps of green paper.


So I found the recipe because its greenness attracted me.  Not for eating, but for bucket-transforming.

When I announced I was making this dinner, I got a lot of pushback.  "I won't like it!  I don't want it!  Can't you make something else?"  But Martha and I were vindicated:  The big boys ate seconds.  Eli even ate the bacon and the pasta (separated and not touching each other, of course).  It was delicious--much too good for a Cub Scout bucket.

Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon (serves 6) (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, November 2004)
7 slices low-sodium bacon, cut into large dice
2 tsp minced garlic
half of a large sweet onion, diced
1.25 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1.25 cups chicken stock
1 pound penne
half cup grated parmesan cheese, more for serving
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  In a large pan over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

If necessary, add oil to bacon fat in pan to equal about 2 tablespoons.  Add garlic, onion, and brussels sprouts.  Saute, stirring, until the onion softens and the sprouts turn light golden brown.  Add chicken stock and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until most of the liquid has reduced, about ten minutes.

While the sprouts are simmering, cook the pasta.  Reserve one-half cup of cooking water and drain.  Add the pasta and reserved cooking liquid to the pan with the sprouts.  Add cheese, 2 tablespoons oil, sage and bacon; toss to combine.  Serve, passing more parmesan cheese.

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