Ah, nothing makes the frugal heart sing as much as unexpectedly finding something you need--or even want--on sale. Such happened to us last weekend. We were whiling away some time at Whole Foods (yes, a favorite family activity at home and abroad), when I spied BRUSSELS SPROUTS 99 cents a pound. Man, that is cheap!
We bought a big bag and gave some to Frugal Son.
For even more harmonic convergence, a recipe appeared on the New York Times website. Turns out that that the humble and oft-reviled brussels sprout is positively chic. Here is the recipe; the author says improvise. It took a lot longer than 20 minutes, however.
8 ounces penne
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
3 ounces pancetta, diced
1 large rosemary sprig
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 jalapeño or Serrano chile, thinly sliced (or substitute 1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes)
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons butter
Fresh lemon juice, for serving
Freshly grated pecorino cheese (optional)
Bring large pot heavily salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until pasta is just al dente (do not overcook).
Meanwhile, heat large sauté pan over high heat and add the olive oil. When oil is hot, add the pancetta and rosemary, and sauté until the fat on the pancetta starts to turn translucent and very lightly brown, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, chile and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and sauté until garlic and pancetta turn richly brown, about 3 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, a large pinch of salt and a splash of water to pan, and sauté until sprouts just start to soften, about 2 minutes. Spread sprouts mixture in pan and press down to flatten. Let it sear for a minute, then stir it up and repeat. This helps brown the sprouts. Add the butter, and sauté for another minute.
Drain penne and add it to pan with brussels sprouts mixture. Cook, tossing, until everything is well mixed. Spoon into pasta bowls and top with a drizzle of oil and lemon juice, and a little cheese if you like.
YIELD 2 servings
Frugal Son returned to Whole Foods a few days later, hoping to get more. Alas, the sale was over.
Have you had any unexpected frugal opportunities?