I received a complimentary copy of Alexandra Caspero Lenz's new cookbook, Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation for sharing my honest review and this brussels sprouts pasta recipe with you. As always, all opinions are my own.
Alex writes in her introduction that "most of these recipes are 50-plus years in the making" and are "adaptations from the recipes passed down from both my mother and grandmother." This got me pretty excited because my husband and I love making pasta at home but, with our combination of Irish/Scottish and German roots, we are both sorely lacking in the authentic Italian Grandmother department.
You probably already know Alex and her delicious vegetarian recipes from her healthy food blog, Delish Knowledge. If you aren't familiar with her work, head over there as soon as you finish reading this post. I promise you will go crazy for her recipes and mouthwatering food photography. (I also love her nutrition philosophy - no depravation, shame or guilt with Alex!)
To be honest, I had no idea what to cook first after opening up Alex's beautiful new cookbook for the first time. Between the lentil bolognese, wild mushroom lasagna, and butternut mac and cheese, there were just way too many delicious options. With the help of my husband, we finally settled on a brussels sprouts pasta dish that we thought sounded perfectly crunchy, spicy, and (best part) insanely easy to put together too.
And we were right. This was probably the first pasta recipe I have ever followed that gave us the amount of heat we were seeking out. (I used the entire jalapeño, seeds, membranes, and all.) And can I just say, thank you, Alex, for calling for 6 cloves of garlic in your recipe? I always thought I was just a garlic fiend but now I know that I'm not alone (and I won't be cutting back to the standard 1-2 cloves out of fear of public ridicule any longer).
Another thing I loved about Fresh Italian Cooking is that Alex offers tons of vegan options and substitutions for making her recipes dairy-free. I opted for her vegan parmesan cheese as a topping in this recipe and have been using it on everything else I've been eating since.
If you're drooling over this easy brussels sprouts pasta dish - and the thought of lentil bolognese, wild mushroom lasagna, and butternut mac and cheese, go get Fresh Italian Cooking immediately! (You can find it wherever books are sold...and remember, cookbooks make the best stocking stuffers!) 🙂
[clickToTweet tweet="Cozy up to this easy brussels sprouts #pasta recipe + more on @delishknowledge new cookbook!" quote="Cozy up to this easy brussels sprouts pasta recipe + more on @delishknowledge new cookbook!"]
Easy Brussels Sprouts Penne (from Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation)
- 8 ounces penne pasta I used whole wheat
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 sliced jalapeño
- 6 minced garlic cloves
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 8 ounces thinly sliced brussels sprouts
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheese recipe below, may also use "regular" parmesan cheese if preferred/not vegan
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat large cast-iron or sauté pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil, Add sliced jalapeño and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, brussels sprouts, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper and sauté until sprouts soften and then begin to crisp, about 5 minutes. Spread sprouts around pan and press down to flatten. Let sear for a minute and then stir and repeat. (This helps brown the sprouts to make them crispy. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan, you are aiming for crispy leaves!)
- Add the cooked penne to the pan and toss until everything is well mixed. Stir in lemon juice and (vegan) parmesan cheese, and serve.
Vegan Parmesan Cheese (from Fresh Italian Cooking for the New Generation)
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- ½ cup blanched almonds
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- Combine all ingredients in a high-[powered blender or food processor and pulse until a fine meal forms.
What is your favorite way to cook pasta at home?