My good friend and fellow author, Carla Snyder, has the answer for empty nesters who are bored with their everyday fare and in search of new ideas for weeknight meals. Worry no more! In her new book, One Pan, Two Plates:Vegetarian Suppers, Carla has assembled a collection of irresistible main courses crafted to serve just two! As I thumbed through the book, I found myself turning down page after page. Should I make the Mushrooms with Polenta and Taleggio? Or, what about that Moroccan Chickpea Stew, or those Latkes with Rutabaga, Rapini, and Parmesan? So many tempting possibilities!
In the end I chose Bow Ties with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola, and Hazelnuts, and wasn’t disappointed, and nor was my husband. He raved about his bowl of pasta with verdant pops of color from Brussels sprouts and plenty of crunch provided by toasted hazelnuts. But, it was the simple Gorgonzola sauce that won him over—a prefect foil for the bow ties and the Brussels sprouts. This dish took only half an hour from start to finish, but looked and tasted as if much more time was required.
If you’re cooking for more than two, you can easily double this recipe so that it feeds four. I like it so much I’m thinking of increasing the recipe and serving it to company!
Add your favorite salad of mixed greens tossed in a lemon and olive oil dressing, offer some crusty ciabatta, and a scoop of gelato for dessert to round out the menu.
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Bow Ties with Brussels Sprouts, Gorgonzola, and Hazelnuts
8 oz bow tie pasta
15 Brussels sprouts, quartered
4 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts
2 Tbsp minced flat leaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
1. In a 3-qt saucepan over high heat, bring 2 qts water to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt and the pasta and cook about 7 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook until the pasta is al dente and the Brussels sprouts are tender-crisp, 4 to 5 minutes longer. To check the pasta for doneness, fish out a bow tie and bite into it. It should still be chewy, just a little underdone.
2. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta and Brussels sprouts in a colander in the sink.
3. Return the pasta and Brussels sprouts to the hot pan and pour in about 1/4 cup of the pasta water, the Gorgonzola, butter, hazelnuts, 1 Tbsp of the parsley, and a few grinds of pepper (if using). Stir until a creamy sauce forms. If the pasta is dry, add more of the pasta water. Taste and season with salt if it needs it.
4. Mound the pasta onto heated plates and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp parsley and more pepper, if desired. Serve hot. Serves 2.
Note: Bow ties, or farfalle, can cook anywhere from 11 to 13 minutes depending on the brand, so check the pasta every minute after 10 minutes to keep track. If you have a small wire-meshed strainer, cook the Brussels sprouts in the strainer dropping it into the water on top of the pasta. That way you can remove the Brussels sprouts if they cook faster than the pasta.
From One Pan, Two Plates Vegetarian Suppers by Carla Snyder (Chronicle Books 2016)