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Friday, November 30, 2012

Harmonic Convergence: Brussels Sprouts

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.


Sea salt
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?


Shelley said...

When we stocked up on fruit and veg for Thanksgiving (for 25) I spent all of £11.50 and got everything we needed for veggie salad, crudites, boiled carrots, fruit salad, mashed potatoes, and an assortment of veg for our regular meals that week. I still wonder if they charged us correctly.

I never ate B. sprouts until I moved to Britain and I didn't like them much at first. But they are part of Bill's traditional Christmas dinner and I eat what's put in front of me. Then, watching a Jamie Oliver cooking programme, I discovered sliced sprouts stir fried with onions and garlic in olive oil. I've been a happy fan ever since.

Funny about Money said...

Yum! Does that sound good!

My unexpected TG windfall: a free turkey.

Bought a 14-pounder at 79 cents/pound, but Safeway had a limit of one per customer. However, they had a deal going where if you bought $150 worth of food, they'd give you one of said mass-produced, water-injected turkeys. They're not very good, but one will provide a month or two of meat for my little dog plus some for me.

Well, a friend of mine, also a single old lady, bought a bunch of food at Safeway to feed her family, who came into town for the holiday. The clerk gave her a turkey.

She said she didn't want it and didn't have anyplace to store it. They said it didn't matter, the thing was hers, and foisted it onto her!

She was trying to figure out what to do with it. I volunteered to take it off her hands. :-)

Patience_Crabstick said...

Sounds delicious! I love brussels sprouts. I haven't encountered any great bargains lately unless you count the 20% off sale on wine at our local Whole Foods. I went on a Sunday morning and bought all the wine we'd need for Thanksgiving and Christmas.