Woe is the Brussels sprout. They are quite possibly the most reviled of all vegetables. Can you think of one other veggie that elicits such passionate hatred? I really can’t. And when you start looking at the way they were cooked back in the day, or the way some people still cook them, you really can’t be that surprised. Boiled into complete mush and emitting a gag-reflex-inducing cabbage smell, they are a pathetic excuse for nourishment.
But there’s hope! Brussels sprouts can be truly delicious when cooked the proper way. If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to choke down a mushy aforementioned sprout, you may be hesitant to believe me. But I have converted more than one Brussels sprouts hater, and I won’t stop until I’ve done my part to exonerate the little leafy guys.
Slimy texture and strong taste can both be remedied by cooking the sprouts at a very high heat for a short amount of time. Oven roasting renders the sprouts caramelized, still lightly crunchy, and irresistibly yummy. Another method, slicing the sprouts into a mound of slivers and quick-sautéing them, also turns out bright green, crunchy and mild-tasting sprouts. This option is delicious tossed with brown rice or, in our case, pasta. Lemon zest and juice add the right touch of zing. It comes together quickly, too, so it’s a perfect midweek two-pot, one-bowl meal.
Linguine with Brussels Sprouts
¾ pound Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
½ pound dried linguine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Thinly slice sprouts, discarding tough cores. Cook pasta per package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper; sauté until tender and golden brown in spots, about 4 to 5 minutes. When pasta is finished, scoop out about 1/4 cup cooking water, drain the pasta, and add it to skillet. Sprinkle in lemon zest and remaining olive oil. Toss to coat, adding reserved pasta water if mixture look dry. Finish with lemon juice, toss once more, and serve.