Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Parmesan Orzo with Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Spinach

It never fails, if I take my 10 year old daughter to the grocery store and she sees brussels sprouts, she will beg me to buy them for her. How can a mom say no to a girl who loves brussels sprouts?

I developed this recipe for my sweet brussels sprout loving girl. It takes a few of her favorite foods and combines them all together. The combination ended up being amazing and the entire family agreed.

Parmesan Orzo with Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Spinach
((Printable Recipe))

1 lb. orzo
1 lb. brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed, stems cut off, and cut into slivers
1 bunch spinach leaves, washed and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups reserved pasta water
1/2 lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 clove garlic
1 large shallot (about 1/3 cup, thinly sliced)
4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
1/2 cup toasted panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2-4 tablespoons butter
crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper to taste

1. Get a large pot of water on the stove and start the heat to boil the water. Meanwhile, get a large skillet and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat up the oil and add the slivered brussels sprouts and give them a good sprinkling of salt and some fresh cracked pepper. Allow them to cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and nicely charred in spots. Remove the brussels sprouts to a plate and return the skillet to the stove.

2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and sauté the shallot for about 3-4 minutes, until it begins to wilt and takes on a nice brown color. Add 1 clove of minced garlic and a pinch of crushed red pepper and stir quickly so it doesn't burn. Add the shredded spinach and stir until wilted. Return the brussels sprouts to the pan.

3. If the water is not up to a boil at this point, turn the heat off on your spinach/sprout mixture and wait. Once the water comes to a boil, salt the water and add the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and reserve about 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water. Turn the heat back on your skillet and add the pasta water gradually, scrapping up the blackened bits on the pan. The water should create a nice sauce.  Add the lemon juice. When the water has evaporated and reduced slightly, add the 2-4 tablespoons butter (depending on how rich you want it.) Stir in the pasta and parmesan. Adjust the seasoning to taste.

5. Serve topped with toasted panko bread crumbs, walnuts, and additional parmesan cheese.


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