Brussels sprout leaves tossed with butternut and pasta
( SERVES 4 )
- Fill a saucepan with salted water, bring to a steady boil, then add the pasta. Cook for 10 minutes or according to the packet instructions until it is al dente or just cooked but not soggy. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.
- To roast the butternut, preheat the oven to 180C. Peel, remove the seeds and chop into 3cm cubes. Take a small ovenproof dish and add the butternut, tossing to coat with the oil. Season well with salt and pepper and roast for 15-20 minutes until soft and starting to brown. Remove from the oven and keep the dish warm.
- To prepare the brussels sprouts (mix green, red and flower sprouts for extra colour), cut off the stems, then carefully remove the leaves so they remain whole. Heat a pan of boiling salted water and blanch the sprout leaves for no more than a minute. Immediately refresh under ice-cold water and drain well. Keep aside.
- Heat the remaining butter in a wide frying pan. Add the finely diced onion and cook gently until golden and soft. Toss in the pasta and butternut to reheat, adding a couple of spoonsful of water so some steam is created. Finally, toss the leaves into the pan with the zest and juice of 1 lemon and when hot turn everything out onto heated pasta plates.
- Garnish with grated or shaved cheese and sliced mint.
- When preparing brussels sprouts, remove the stalk and cut out the bitter core or heart.
- If serving whole, remove the stalk and cut a cross in the base of each sprout to speed the cooking.
- Green brussels sprouts are the most common of the three varieties and are widely available. They should be eaten as fresh as possible. Remove yellowing or spotty leaves.
- Red brussels sprouts have a mild sweet taste. They retain their brilliant colour when steamed or when a little lemon juice is squeezed over them before cooking.
- Flower sprouts are new to the market, the result of a cross between brussels sprouts and kale. They are like a tightly furled frilly rosebud and have a mild nutty flavour.