Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Remember back in March when I did that juice cleanse? And remember how I said it was easy, and I didn't feel hungry at all? Well, it turns out, that's not how it always goes with juice cleanses. How do I know? Because yesterday's was the most heinous thing I've ever done. Well, not really. But it was pretty bad.
Some of it may also have been the fact that I didn't ramp down at all. The night before, I had beef stroganoff. Delicious beef stroganoff that our friend Carson made when we came over for dinner with him and his lovely wife. Beef stroganoff that was still in my head when I ordered my "Citrus Cleanse" juice in the morning.
I was cranky for most of the day, I considered cheating several times with the various chocolate products I now have stashed around the office, and the kicker was I had to skip an office birthday celebration and the accompanying cupcakes from Toast. By then, I was on my "Gimme Green" juice, which is not quite a chocolate-dipped marshmallow frosting chocolate cupcake.
And because I'm some kind of masochist, I flipped on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, and watched Guy Fieri grub on some BLT with tomato jam while I sipped on my miso soup (didn't bother posting the recipe as it's one T. white miso paste to one cup of boiling water).
All I wanted tonight was pasta and cheese, and by goodness, I was going to have it. I took the basics from this Baked Farro Pasta recipe and turned it into my very own Brussels Sprouts + Pasta Gratin. Whlle I love pasta with potatoes, I wasn't that hungry, so just upped the pasta and the Brussels up a tad. I had 8 oz. of ricotta that I couldn't foresee using in the near future, so I put it in the middle of this gratin. For no reason except that it sounded delicious.
And this was just about perfect. Tender, barely creamy pasta punctuated with rich ricotta surprises every other bite. I would consider not pre-cooking the Brussels sprouts next time so they retain more texture, but as they were, they were melty little bites of brassican delight. I also loved the slightly random pops of spicy mustard, so I would maybe even double the amount called for next time.
Brussels Sprouts + Pasta Gratin
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1 lb. whole wheat rotini
1 1/2 T. butter
2 medium leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 garlic gloves, minced
1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 c. vegetable broth
1 1/2 T. whole grain mustard
1 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
16 fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
4 oz. Fontina cheese, grated
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta until just shy of al dente. Drain and set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until soft, a few minutes. Stir in the garlic and Brussels sprouts. Whisk the mustard in with the vegetable broth and add to the pan. Season with salt and cook, covered, for a few minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked off. The sprouts should still be bright green with a bit of crunch.
3. While the sprouts are cooking, toss the pasta with 1 c. of the Parmesan cheese, half of the slivered sage leaves and all of the Fontina. When the sprouts are done, add them to the pasta mixture and toss to thoroughly combine.
4. Arrange 1/2 of pasta mixture back into the pan. Dollop the ricotta evenly over top. Arrange the remaining pasta over the cheese and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and slivered sage.
5. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.