A Leek, some Brussels Sprouts, and Rigatoni get pulled out of my fridge…

In the lead-up to Christmas this weekend there’s been a lot of rushing around which has left me with little time for making intricate and fancy dinners, much to Cheryl’s chagrin.  Contrary to some belief it’s not the Escoffier Room here every night of the week!  I can’t even remember the last time I made some bread this month (doing that now).  Between the traveling, cleaning, shopping, cookie baking, and work there’s been little time left for just creatively preparing dinner.  I will be glad when Christmas is over and I can get back to that, I am definitely not a big time pastry baker and totally respect those who are.  It’s tricky.

$3.50 at Trader Joe's for almost two feet of Brussels sprouts! Barely fits in the fridge.

Anyway, Cheryl had a work party Wednesday evening so I took a peek in the fridge to see what I had.  I picked up one of these Brussels sprouts on a stalk at Trader Joe’s so I decided to use some of them along with a leek I found tucked behind the eggs to mix in with some rigatoni.  Simple, quick, and easy.  The lemon zest and juice add a nice level of acidity and zing.  Turned out pretty well overall.  Is it the best?  Nah, coulda really used some pancetta or bacon (oooh that reminds me I have to hit the butcher shop), but it tasted really good and was nice to be cooking with some creativity after following those strict baking recipes the past few weeks.  Release the Kraken!  Ok, ok, maybe release the porpoise with tonight’s effort.

Ingredients – makes enough for two servings (and yes, I ate them both)

  • 1 C chopped leeks
  • 12 brussels sprouts sliced thinly
  • ¼ C white wine
  • ⅓ C chicken stock
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1-2 Tbs olive oil
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • ½ Tbs lemon juice
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ lb cooked rigatoni
  • Salt to taste

Heat a sauté pan over med-high heat and add the olive oil.  Add leeks, a pinch or two of salt, and sauté until soft, about 5 mins.  Add sliced/shredded Brussels sprouts and sauté until soft.  Add the wine, deglaze the pan and allow the alcohol to cook off.*  Now add the chicken stock, bring to simmer and allow to reduce by half.

Next, stir in the Tbs of butter.  Add the lemon zest and lemon juice.

Add the cooked rigatoni, heat and toss to coat well.  Top with parmesan cheese

*Kitchen Essentials Tip:  If you have any demi-glace in your freezer now’s a good time to use it.  Put in a Tbs or two here, leave out the chicken stock, and add a ¼ C of water.


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