Brussels Sprouts with Leeks, Lemon and Pasta
One of the great troubles I find in cooking is getting good side dishes to go with whatever else I’m serving. With few fresh vegetables available from local sources, you really don’t have a lot to choose from. But this one, you can serve either as a light main serving or as a side, depending on the situation, and the Brussels sprouts with leeks and pasta are very good in both cases.
I saw the first such recipe on a Bon Appetite site and after researching it, found several others that were similar, and decided to make my own version, with a little bit more pasta and a lot more lemon and garlic. You can play with this recipe a good bit without ruining it, and come up with your own version, if you like. It’s really that easy. And I love the nice brownness that really makes the Brussels sprouts come alive.
- 1 pound brussels sprouts
- 1 large (or two small) leeks, white and pale-green parts
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
- Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
- 2 lemons, zest removed with a vegetable peeler, and then cut into very thin strips
- 4-6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 12 ounces pasta (use shells, rigatoni or other large pasta pieces)
- 2-3 ounces Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving
- Trim brussels sprouts with a paring knife, then snap off several dark outer leaves from each; set aside. Cut sprouts into quarters or halves. Cut the leeks into both half-inch slices and much thinner pieces. About half of each works well.
- Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium. Add brussels sprout quarters and large leek rings; season with salt and pepper and cook undisturbed until deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Toss and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until browned all over and tender, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a medium bowl.
- Add remaining zest along with sliced leek, garlic, and 2 Tbsp. oil to same skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook until garlic and leek are golden, about 4 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until skillet is almost dry, about 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until very al dente, 8–10 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
- Add pasta to skillet Brussels sprout quarters and leek rings, and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid; toss to combine. Bring to a simmer, then gradually add Parmesan, tossing constantly.
- Cook, shaking skillet to toss pasta and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until pasta is finished and sauce is thickened and glossy, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.