Braised Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

This quick cooking side dish is perfect for Thanksgiving or any other large holiday meal because it is prepared on the stove top when the oven is often too busy for another pan.

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Suzanne Goin. According to the Times, braised vegetables are a hallmark of Goin’s cuisine. It was described as a “marvelously flavorful dish, rich with garlic and salty pancetta.” A keeper! I completely agree. Simple and perfect.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Time: 30 minutes

  • 1 ½ cups fresh bread crumbs (I used prepared bread crumbs)
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds baby brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed (cut larger ones in two)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces pancetta in small dice (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots, more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup veal stock or rich chicken broth, more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix bread crumbs and thyme with 1/4 cup olive oil, and spread on a cookie sheet. Toast, tossing frequently, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. (I substituted prepared bread crumbs.)
  2. Heat butter and remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foamy.
  3. Add brussels sprouts, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté, tossing frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add diced pancetta, and sauté, tossing frequently, until sprouts are well browned and softened slightly, and pancetta is crisp, about 10 minutes more.
  5. Reduce heat, add shallots and garlic, and sauté until fragrant, 2 minutes.
  6. Increase heat to high, add balsamic vinegar and stock, and cook, tossing frequently, until sprouts are glazed and tender, about 10 minutes; add more stock if needed.
  7. Taste, adjusting seasoning if necessary, and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Transfer to a warm serving bowl and scatter bread crumbs on top. (We had bread crumbs on the side.)

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Kabocha Squash Puree with Browned Butter & Sage

Last year, I saw kabocha squash recipes everywhere- after the season was over. When I saw this special squash in the store this year, I bought one without a plan- I didn’t want to miss out again…

We ate this wonderful side dish, adapted from a “staff-favorite” Food and Wine recipe contributed by Michael Tusk, with grilled chicken sausages! It wasn’t the best compliment- but was absolutely delicious anyway. 🙂 The squash was creamy and sweet and the browned butter added rich nuttiness. This dish would be a better match to an elegant meal. Next time! 🙂

Yield: Serves 6 as a side dish

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  • 1 kabocha squash (about 3 pounds each), halved and seeded
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 6 sage leaves, plus more as desired for garnish
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • aged balsamic vinegar, for drizzling, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 425° and line a roasting pan with parchment paper. (I used the convection roast setting.)
  2. Rub the inside of each squash half with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and press a sage leaf onto each one.
  3. Season the squash with salt and pepper and place cut side down in the roasting pan. (I used a 9×13-inch glass pyrex pan.)
  4. Add 1 cup of water to the pan. Cover with foil and roast for 1 hour, until tender.
  5. Let cool. Discard the sage and scoop the flesh into a bowl.
  6. In a small skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  7. Add the remaining 4+ sage leaves and cook over moderate heat until the butter is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sage to a plate.
  8. Add the browned butter and lemon juice to the squash and mash to a puree.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Transfer the squash to a bowl, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, if desired, and garnish with the fried sage leaves.

Make Ahead: The squash puree can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat in a microwave before garnishing.

One Year Ago:

Grilled Radicchio

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I am not a huge fan of radicchio, but, one of the things I enjoy about my CSA box is that vegetables that I may not have selected are sitting in my fridge waiting to be served! 🙂 This, so far, is the best radicchio I have ever prepared. The grilling process erased all of the bitterness… the balsamic vinegar may have helped too. This recipe was adapted from localfoods.about.com. The radicchio had such a lovely presentation and great color; it really stood out on the plate along with our grilled corn, and roasted zucchini, cippolini onions, broccoli, kohlrabi, fennel, and potatoes. A veggie-loaded meal! 🙂

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 head radicchio, quartered with stem intact
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, or to taste
  1. Preheat the grill. Cut radicchio into quarters. Rub or brush entire radicchio quarters with oil.
  2. Set radicchio with one cut-side down on the grill over moderately-high heat. Cook until edges are well browned, about 4 minutes. Turn to other cut-side and cook until entire radicchio is nicely browned and wilted, about 4 more minutes.
  3. Remove radicchio from grill, sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

One Year Ago:

Bruschetta Bianca

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This is our favorite special winter appetizer. It is luxurious yet messy and rustic. I use my favorite sourdough baguette, rub garlic on BOTH sides (such intense garlic flavor), and then top it with aged balsamic vinegar, white truffle oil, and parmesan. GREAT. This recipe was adapted from The Union Square Cafe Cookbook: 160 Favorite Recipes from New York’s Acclaimed Restaurant by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano. Delicious!

This is my first contribution to “Fiesta Friday” (#5 this week) on one of my favorite blogs- The Novice Gardener– so inspiring and fun- check it out!

  • 6 1-inch slices sourdough or whole wheat peasant bread (I used a sourdough baguette)
  • 1 large garlic clove, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp aged balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze (I don’t measure – I just drizzle)
  • 1/4 cup white truffle oil (I don’t measure – I just drizzle)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler into thin shards
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  1. Grill or toast the bread slices until golden brown.
  2. While the toast is still warm, rub each piece on both sides with the garlic halves. (The garlic will melt into the bread.) Season with sea salt.
  3. Drizzle each piece of toast with equal amounts of the balsamic vinegar and truffle oil.
  4. Place the shaved Parmigiano on the toasts and drizzle the remaining (or to taste) truffle oil over the cheese, if desired. (I often skip this step.) Lightly sprinkle each brushetta with pepper and serve.

One Year Ago:

Fresh Tomato Sauce over Pasta

This is a fabulous (almost) “no-cook” summer dish. It showcases beautiful summer tomatoes and herbs and makes the kitchen smell wonderful as it sits on the counter marinating all day!

This recipe was adapted from the Golden Earthworm Organic Farm. After marinating, the tomatoes could easily be drained and eaten as bruschetta as well. It was already delicious after 30 minutes, but I let the flavors blend together for a full 6 hours before pouring over hot pasta. Yum.

  • 3 lb. tomatoes, peeled and diced (I used 5 large tomatoes)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 T. minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 pound penne pasta, or pasta of choice (I used egg pappardelle)
  1. Peel the tomatoes: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Set a bowl of ice water next to the pot. Wash the tomatoes well. Lightly score the bottom of each tomato with an “x”. Using a bamboo strainer or slotted spoon, lower one tomato into the boiling water. Cook for 30 seconds. Remove the tomato with the strainer or slotted spoon and place into the ice water for 10 seconds. The skin should slide right off. Repeat as necessary. Dice.
  2. Combine peeled and diced tomatoes with all the other ingredients except salt and pasta.
  3. Let it sit in a large non-aluminum bowl at room temperature, covered, for 30 minutes, up to 6 hours.
  4. Prepare pasta. Toss with sauce and add salt just before serving. So simple, so delicious!

If you like this you may also like: Spicy Fresh Tomato Sauce

One Year Ago: Cherry Tomato Tart with Basil

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Terrific Low-Fat Lasagna

This is my favorite “go-to” lasagna recipe- I have made it for years. I am not sure how truly low-fat it is, it is still LASAGNA, but it was the winning recipe in an ABC News “Cut the Calories” contest many years ago. I increased the amount of ground turkey, garlic, and seasonings.

  • 1 28-oz jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 8 ounces grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 lb ground turkey or beef
  • 16 oz package frozen thawed spinach or kale
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles
  • salt and pepper

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees on convection.
  2. Lightly oil bottom of baking pan. Stir one cup of the chicken stock into the spaghetti sauce and set aside. Whisk the egg. Stir in ricotta cheese and one cup of the mozzarella. Add garlic, salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Brown and drain the meat making sure to break it into very small pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the spinach (or kale) until it is half done, approximately two-thirds of the time indicated on the microwave directions. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Saute the onion in 1/2 cup chicken stock until it is translucent. Cook the mushrooms in the remaining 1/2 cup chicken stock adding the soy sauce and vinegar. Simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed. Mix together meat, spinach (or kale), onions, and mushrooms. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  5. Build the lasagna starting with a layer of sauce in the bottom of the pan. Add one layer of uncooked noodles followed by more sauce, 1/3 of the cheese mixture and 1/3 of the meat mixture. Repeat 2 more times, finishing off with the meat mixture and the remaining sauce.
  6. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes, until liquid around the edges has been absorbed. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top and bake for and additional 15 minutes. Serves 10.

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