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Orecchiette with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

By 10:31 AM , , , ,

Giving up meat hasn't been quite as hard as I had thought it would be.  Don't get me wrong - I've had my cravings of a nice rare filet, a Chick-fil-a sandwich and a juicy Breslin Burger.  But, we've been trying a lot of new seafood and vegetarian recipes which have kept things interesting.

I hadn't ever thought of pairing brussels sprouts (which we love) with pasta.  But, when I saw this delicious looking Taste of Home recipe, I knew we'd be adding this to our menu during Lent.

Not only was this recipe beyond easy to make, it was also wonderful.  The Husband scarfed it down and I enjoyed it as well.

The brussels sprouts are hearty by nature and paired with the pasta, it makes for a very filling vegetarian meal.

By roasting brussels sprouts you get a tad bit of sweetness which plays against the bite of the green onion and garlic very well.  The small amount of cream cheese is just enough to add creaminess without being too heavy or decadent.

A few notes:
- As mentioned before, we hate parsley so we omitted that.
- I halved this recipe, which worked just fine.
- I added one chopped shallot and sauteed that with the green onions and garlic.
- I added in crushed red pepper flakes to the final product for a bit of spice.
- I used reduced fat cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese.  Fat free cream cheese would work as well.

Orecchiette with Roasted Brussels Sprouts

2 pounds fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
3-3/4 cups uncooked orecchiette or small tube pasta
6 green onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup butter, cubed
3/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed
Minced fresh parsley

In a large bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, 3 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 30-40 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, cook orecchiette according to package directions; drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water.
In a small skillet, saute onions and garlic in butter for 1-2 minutes. Stir in wine. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half.

In a food processor, combine the onion mixture, reserved pasta water and remaining salt and pepper. Cover and process until smooth.

In a large saucepan, combine the Brussels sprouts, orecchiette, onion mixture, cream cheese and remaining oil. Cook over medium heat until heated through and cream cheese is melted, stirring frequently. Garnish with parsley. Yield: 6 servings.

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