Monday, December 19, 2011

Gemelli Pasta and Brussels Sprouts with Dijon Vinaigrette

I got a great cookbook from my day care kids as a Christmas gift--Pampered Chef's The Vegetarian Table.  There's a whole section on vegan main dishes.  Awesome!!  My family immediately thumbed through it and marked a few pages they thought looked tasty. 

The first one we tested was "Gemelli & Brussels Sprouts with Dijon Vinaigrette." Only the recipe actual called for this to be served cold as a salad.  I made just a couple slight changes and served it up as a hot dish. My kids gave this one two thumbs up and ate up a huge batch of it. I would also highly recommend using this Dijon vinaigrette for other things, too.  It's really awesome.  I think this dressing would make a good cold salad.

I know what you're thinking--my family will not eat Brussels Sprouts!!  But give it a try.  We call them "green balls" here and my kids love them.  My son likes to buy them fresh when possible and help to clean and peel off the outside layer.  Actually, last night I was watching Food Network and there was a comment about how Dijon went so well with Brussels Sprouts.  The judges on the show were pleasantly surprised by how yummy they were prepared that way.  I plan to use this dressing on sprouts even without the pasta.

I cannot take credit for this recipe. I'm not trying to do that, I swear.  (Are there some sort of laws about stealing recipes and putting them on your blog?  Should I call a lawyer?)  I will print MY version of this recipe.  But I give full and complete credit to the good folks at Pampered Chef and to my sweet and wonderful child care family that gave me the book.

Oh, and Gemelli is a twisty pasta.  I suppose you could use rotini or fusilli if that's easier to find, but the gemelli is a great texture and I recommend trying to find it.

Okay, enough rambling for me.  Let's get to the recipe already!

16 oz. box of gemelli pasta (cook according to directions and reserve 1/2 c. pasta water at the end)
1-2 pounds fresh (or 2 bags frozen) Brussels Sprouts (trimmed and cleaned if using fresh)
1 large red onion

Juice from 2 lemons
1/3 c. Dijon Mustard
1/4 c. White Balsamic vinegar (original calls for apple cider, use what you have)
1 1/2 T. packed brown sugar
1 t. fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 t. sea salt
2 1/2 T. olive (or canola) oil
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Slice onion thinly and cook slowly in small pan over medium heat until soft and sweet--this may take 10-15 minutes to caramelize them nicely.  Keep onions in pan.
Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, brown sugar, salt, pepper and oil.  Add to onions in pan and bring to a simmer for about 2 minutes.
Cook pasta according to directions, reserving 1/2 c. cooking water. Steam Brussels sprouts until crisp tender (or softer if you prefer) and season with salt and pepper. Toss Brussels sprouts with pasta and pasta water. Stir in onions and dressing.
Serve with pecans and dried cranberries for topping.

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