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Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola, and Brown-Butter Pecans

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Serves 4 to 6

  • by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell from Fine Cooking
    Issue 102

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more perfect fall pasta dish. For a sweet, nutty flavor, roast the Brussels sprouts until they’re just this side of charred.

  • Kosher salt
  • 20 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed (4 cups)
  • 3-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. dried orecchiette
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2 large shallots, minced (3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 oz. Gorgonzola, crumbled (1 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, set a heavy rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 500°F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

In a food processor fitted with the medium (4 mm) slicing disk, slice the Brussels sprouts. Transfer them to a large bowl, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with 1-1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper, and toss until well coated. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and spread the Brussels sprouts on it in a single layer. Roast, stirring once about halfway through the cooking time, until the Brussels sprouts are tender and flecked with charred bits, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette according to package directions until just al dente.

In a medium heavy-duty skillet, melt 1/2 Tbs. of the butter over medium heat. Add the pecans and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter is deeply browned and the pecans are toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, add 3 oz. (3/4 cup) of the Gorgonzola and stir until melted.

Drain the orecchiette and return it to the pot. Add the Brussels sprouts, Gorgonzola sauce, and lemon juice and toss well. Serve, sprinkled with the pecans and the remaining Gorgonzola.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a fresh salad or quick braised Acorn Squash with Rosemary and Brown Sugar.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 670; Fat (g): 36; Fat Calories (kcal): 330; Saturated Fat (g): 14; Protein (g): 19; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): 67; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4.5; Sodium (mg): 700; Cholesterol (mg): 70; Fiber (g): 8;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Quite delish but not a wow for me. The Brussels were so good they deserved to be eaten on their own! I used goats cheese as I don't like Gorgonzola, which worked well, as did subbing out some of the cream for wine. Just make sure you cook out the wine enough (I didn't). I used less pasta to up the veg factor and added extra nuts for crunch.

It was good, but not great. I added chicken for my husband, who thinks you cannot have dinner without meat. :) I used whole milk instead of cream. I tried to give it a little more kick, by squeezing a little more lemon juice on top. I loved the pecans on top! I think the leftovers might taste better than the meal did tonight! I did like the brussels sprouts!

wonderful and easy

This recipe is very good! The roasted brussels sprouts have such a nutty flavor, and goes well with the Gorgonzola cheese.

Love this recipe! I made a little extra of the sauce portion and added bacon to my version. The brussels sprouts come out perfect. Have made 3 times already for dinner at home and have brought into work twice now for lunch; it's a huge hit everytime!

Absolutely delicious. The browned nuts are key. I made this for a party and it held well over a sterno to rave reviews. mmmmmmmm. Cannot wait to make this again and add chunks of sauteed chicken.

This is a wonderful recipe. Everybody loved it! I replaced half of the heavy cream with white wine and it tasted great. I don't think it suffered at all by reducing the fat. I originally made this for the family, but will definitely serve it to company too.

Wonderful and delicious way to get the family to eat brussel sprouts!

Made this recipe for my family and also served at a dinner party and it was a big hit both times. In my opinion the toasted pecans were the key ingredient and made all the difference. Roasting the brussels sprouts added great flavor too. I will say I did make one adjustment -- to cut down on fat, I used about half the amount of cream called for and thinned it out with some white wine and veggie broth (or the pasta cooking liquid when unavailable). Since not everyone is a fan of gorgonzola, the second time I made this I also used less cheese and just served some on the side for people who wanted more.

Rich and delicious! The roasted brussel sprouts were surprisingly good. It paired very well with a classic, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon with strong fruit aromas.

Tried this recipe first as intended and thought the nuts were just an "ok" addition. Following attempts at this recipe omitted the nuts but included sautéed proscuitto which was fabulous!!! This is now a favorite with or without the pasta!!

Soooo good. My grocery store didn't have orecchiete so we used elbows instead, other than that we went by the book. Really nice meal for a chilly night.

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