After having tried out Cavolo Nero and Bok Choi, Spinach, Cauliflower, and Broccoli in the past, it was now time for Brussels Sprouts to add a hint of healthiness to a Mac ‘n Cheese or Pasta Alfredo type of dish.
Balsamic vinegar roasted Brussels Sprouts are super easy to make. Very lovely on their own, but a match made in heaven when adding them to a batch of mustard heavy Mac ‘n Cheese. Or a more correctly, a match made in chemistry as Brussels sprouts and mustard seeds belong to the same Brassicaceae family.
I based this one on the Cheesy sprout pasta bake recipe found in the February 2019 edition of BBC Good Food Magazine. Not much was changed. I had some farfalle pasta leftover in the cupboard so used that instead of penne, but either type of pasta is ideal for creamy and cheesy sauces. I almost doubled the quantity of the veg (some roasted sprouts were snacked while cooling), and upped the garlic and whole grain mustard quantities and added a good grating of nutmeg to the cheese sauce to taste.
Besides it being a delicious dish; what we really liked is that the Brussels Sprouts were not incorporated into the pasta sauce, but were just scattered on top. The cheese-topped caramelized sprouts are so good!
The recipe (serves 4-6)
- 350g / 12oz Brussels Sprouts, halved lengthwise
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 350g / 12oz penne pasta
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- a good grating of nutmeg
- 500ml / 2 cups milk
- 1½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
- 200g / 7oz mature cheddar, coarsely grated
- Preheat the oven to 180℃/370℉.
- Toss the halved sprouts in the olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl and season with some salt and pepper. Then tip the sprouts into a roasting tin or onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake the sprouts for 10 to 15 minutes until brown, tossing again halfway through. Don’t caramelize them too far as they will go back into the oven later on.
- In the meantime, cook the pasta according to the pack instructions until it has a slight bite (around two minutes less than the instructions), then drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter in a medium saucepan, add the garlic and flour and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Gradually add the milk stir or whisk until the mixture is smooth and comes to the boil. Then simmer for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from the heat and add nutmeg, whole grain mustard and most of the cheddar cheese (reserving about one handful for the topping) and stir to combine, and the cheese has been incorporated. Season well to taste.
- Add the cooked pasta to the saucepan and mix.
- Tip the pasta mixture into a large baking dish and top with the roasted sprouts,and remaining cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the oven until the cheese topping is golden and bubbling.