Whole Wheat Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Brown Butter, and Walnuts
by La Domestique
In Chez Panisse Vegetables, Alice Waters writes that cooking Brussels sprouts quickly ensures the best flavor. The quickest method for cooking Brussels sprouts is to separate the delicate leaves and sauté them in a hot pan. One of my favorite ways to cook with Brussels is inspired by Martha Stewart’s recipe for Fettuccine with Brussels Sprout Leaves, Brown Butter, and Toasted Walnuts from her cookbook, The New Classics. Making brown butter is an extra step that may seem intimidating, but it elevates a simple pasta dish to something special. Finish the dish with a handful of grated Parmesan or Pecorino and you’ve got a beautiful combination of salty cheese, rich butter, sweet Brussels sprout leaves, and toasted nuts.
whole wheat spaghetti
½ cup (1 stick) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
shallots, sliced thin
garlic cloves, minced
fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Toast the walnuts. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and bake them in the oven until fragrant, 10 minutes. Pour the toasted nuts onto a plate to cool and set them aside. Once the walnuts are cool, coarsely chop them.
- Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the whole wheat pasta until just tender, according to package directions. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and toss with 1 tablespoon butter. Cover and keep warm while you continue with the recipe.
- While the pasta cooks, make the brown butter. Heat 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Monitor the heat carefully so the butter does not burn, but instead turns a dark, golden brown while the white solids float to the top. In less than 8 minutes, the butter should have a nice nutty aroma. Remove the brown butter from the heat, strain it, and discard the solids. Set the brown butter aside.
- Prepare the Brussels sprouts by separating the leaves. Cut off the base of the bud, then slice vertically through the top of the Brussels sprout, cutting it in half. Peel away the tender leaves, discarding the hard core. Rinse the leaves and pat them dry.
- Cook the Brussels sprouts. Heat the last 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once the butter melts, add the shallots and garlic and cook for a minute to soften. Toss in the Brussels sprouts leaves and thyme. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook until the leaves are bright green and tender, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the pasta to the pan and pour over the brown butter. Toss the pasta well and heat through, adding more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the pasta to a serving platter and garnish with walnuts. Serve family style with Parmesan at the table.