Do you have an Italian grocery store in your neighborhood? One of my favorites is Eataly in New York and Chicago but I really love the small, comforting feel of a good, local Italian grocer. We have one here in Milwaukee called Gloriosos and I love going there on the weekend and just smelling the cheeses and staring at all of the fun pasta shapes. That’s really how this dish was started. I paid a visit over this past weekend to the store and I was drawn to the ‘casarecce’ pasta when I saw it. The noodle is shaped like an ‘S’ but offers up a tube-shape, which is perfect for trapping bits of ricotta. I brought the pasta home and found some fresh brusells sprouts and ricotta in my refrigerator and a star was born: Casarecce with Brussels Sprouts, Ricotta and Mint.
When brussels sprouts come into season I really like to make the most of them. When sauteed, they make the perfect addition to any pasta dish. This dish is super quick and easy to prepare and perfect for a Meatless Monday. If you can’t live without meat, I would recommend adding some diced pancetta into the pan while you saute the brussels and garlic.
Of course it is not a real meal in my house without wine on the side. I paired this delicious pasta up with Principessa Gavia from Banfi Wines. This white wine is made from Cortese grapes and comes from the Piedmont region of Italy. This wine offers intense fruit flavors of pineapple and apple and pairs very well with seafood and chicken. I was actually going to add shrimp into this pasta and thought that the flavors perfectly balanced without this ingredient. I certainly would consider adding in shrimp when I make my next batch!
If you’re looking for a light pasta dish then I think that this Casarecce with Brussels Sprouts, Ricotta and Mint will do the trick. You can really bring out all of these flavors with a glass of Principessa Gavia and good conversation. Buon Appetito!
- 1 pound casarecce or other corkscrew pasta
- Â½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces brussels sprouts, thinly sliced on a mandoline (6 cups)
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
- Â¼ cup fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Â¼ cup chopped mint, plus more for garnish
- Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for garnish
- In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the casarecce until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water. Wipe out the pot.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the brussels sprouts and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the shallots, garlic and 1 tablespoon of the oil and cook until the brussels sprouts are lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the ricotta, lemon zest and crushed red pepper and season with salt and black pepper.
- Return the pasta and pasta water to the pot. Add the brussels sprout mixture, the remaining Â¼ cup of oil and the Â¼ cup of mint and toss until a sauce forms, 2 minutes. Garnish with black pepper, pecorino and mint and serve.