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by on January 8th, 2013

Brussel Sprouts, Chestnuts and Whole Wheat Pasta

Healthy pasta for dinner tonight.

While rummaging through my refrigerator the other day I came up with something interesting ingredients – a partial bag of Brussels sprouts from Christmas (yes they were still good), 1/2 a jar of steamed chestnuts that were left from a yummy Brussels sprout dish that had some sauteed butternut squash added to it, and oh, this partial tub of marscapone (you can use a soft cream cheese if you don’t have marscapone). My grandson, Milo loves cream cheese on his turkey sandwiches. Go figure. He’s a pretty persnickety eater. But he loves his cream cheese and turkey sandwiches. I remember when he called once (age 3) and said “Gran, I like cream cheese now”. Isn’t it just so cute; just about anything the grandsons say if is is preceded with “Gran” just makes me smile.

I love hearing the grandsons say “Gran”. (Two out of the four can talk.) Little Oliver (from Chicago) was so surprised by the snowman pretzel sticks I sent back with their Christmas gifts. He ate so many of these while visiting over Christmas and when I was packing up everything to mail back, there were a couple still staring at me from a glass I had them standing up in. So after falling out of his chair at the dinner table one night, mom gave him a snowman pretzel. She took a picture of him saying “Thanks, Gran, and then a big Ta-duh as he shows the pretzel to the camera.

I think I have finally purged the house of all the sweet things that were made for the holidays that were never eaten. So to come up with some healthy ingredients while cleaning out the refrigerator and pantry was exciting.

The bacon does not have to be used, of course, in this recipe if you want to go meatless; I just like the taste that it brings to the dish.

Walnuts or almonds can be substituted for the steamed chestnuts but they won’t have  the same texture as the chestnuts. I probably would only add about 1/2 cup of the nuts as a replacement for the steamed chestnuts. I could not come across any substitutions for a steamed chestnut so if you don’t want to use nuts then substitute another vegetable.

Lardons of bacon, chopped shallots, Brussels sprouts and steamed chestnuts.

Saute the bacon and shallots.

Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until tender.

Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of marscapone cheese. Add in some chicken broth to create a sauce.

Stir in the cooked pasta and add more chicken broth if needed.  If you don’t want to use chicken broth you can use some of the pasta water.

Brussel Sprouts, Chestnuts and Whole Wheat Pasta

1 c. Brussels sprouts
1 lb. whole wheat pasta
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 c. mushrooms, sliced
1 c. steamed chestnuts, chopped
2 shallots, sliced thin
2-3 Tbsp. softened cream cheese
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 slices thick bacon cut in lardons, optional

Cut the Brussels sprouts in half and remove the stem end, then cut in half again. Slice the mushrooms and chop the steamed chestnuts and set aside.

Heat salted water and boil pasta until al dente.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet; add in the bacon lardons and shallots and stir until the bacon pieces or browned. Add in the Brussels sprouts and saute for 5-6 minutes; then add the sliced mushrooms and steamed chestnuts. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of the marscapone cheese and about 1/4 cup chicken broth. When all the vegetables are tender add in the cooked pasta.

Stir the pasta into the sauce. If needed add more chicken broth to create a sauce. If you do not want to use broth, add some of the pasta water. Grate some Parmesan cheese over pasta and serve immediately with more Parmesan on the side.

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