(Ph)ood


Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
March 28, 2011, 3:16 pm
Filed under: Salad, Side Dish, Vegetable | Tags: , , , ,

This is a more of a continuation of the last post than a new post.  This brussels sprouts dish provided a healthy complement to the white truffle mac ‘n’ cheese.  It was an addition that I was hoping would be used to provide a simple and alternative flavor to the rich, creamy flavors of the mac ‘n’ cheese.

My delicious meal of white truffle mac ‘n’ cheese, brussels sprouts, bread and wine was complemented by the wonderful personalities and conversations of/with Saoirse and Ciara Owens and Juan Graham.  It was a great and relaxing way to end the weekend.

Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta (from Food & Wine)

I feel redundant, but this is a straightforward recipe.  Believe it or not, three pounds of brussels sprouts do fit in one pot of boiling water.  Lastly, I have one addition and one suggestion for you.  The addition: increase the sun-dried tomatoes to roughly 10 ounces and add 1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts to the final product.  Toast pine nuts over moderate heat, no oil required.  The suggestion: The recipe states to cook the brussels sprouts, cut side down, with 1/4 cup olive oil over high heat until slightly browned.  I can’t believe anyone has a pan big enough for 3 lbs of brussels sprouts to be facing down on the pan.  So either divide the oil and brussels sprouts in three batches or forgo the requirement that they all lay cut side down.  I learned by doing and therefore needed to use additional olive oil which resulted in a final product that had slightly too much olive oil.

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White Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Grilled Chicken

Dangerous!  This is a word that can accurately describe certain parts of Philadelphia.  More frequently than I care to read or hear in the newspaper or radio are episodes or sprees of crime happening in the City of Brotherly Love.  Where’s the love you may ask?  Apparently not in north or south Philly where, according to my very unscientific media-based observation, a huge portion of our city’s crime takes place.  One of the more recent and prominent episodes involved the “Kensington Strangler,” in which a 22 year-old man assaulted and strangled to death three women over a one month period.  While there should never be any “fame” in crime, Philadelphia does have its fair share of infamous criminals.  Many of these criminals, including “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone, spent time in Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary, once the most famous and expensive prison in the world.  According to it’s website, Eastern State Penitentiary is “known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world’s first true ‘penitentiary,’ a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of convicts.”  Eastern State Penitentiary is no longer a prison and is now a museum open everyday from 10am to 5pm.  It is an impressive place and is definitely worth checking out, especially around Halloween.

White Truffle Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Grilled Chicken (from L.A. Times)

Dangerous is not only a word that describes the past and present criminals of Philadelphia, but also this macaroni and cheese.  It will be known for its “grand architecture” (white truffle olive oil amongst other things) and it’s required self- “strict discipline” to avoid over consuming such a flavor- and calorie-rich dish.  It is possible that enjoying this dish will inspire “penitence” and “true regret” and create a yearning to immediately resume healthy eating and an exercise regime.  There are 2 types of cheese – Boursin Garlic and Herb Gournay cheese (oh so good!) and mozzarella , one quart of heavy cream, crispy pancetta and bread crumbs sauteed in pancetta fat.  I’m not recommending enjoying such a rich dish as a daily ritual, but it is worthwhile making this on a special occasion.  Trust me, it’s dangerously good!

I recommend adding some fresh mozzarella cheese to this prior to serving (not part of the original recipe) and serving it with some sort of fresh vegetable (see next post) and a great wine (perhaps a cabernet or a rioja or a zinfandel).