This might sound like a strange combination (pasta with apple?), but as they say on This American Life, stay with us. This easy pasta dish came from whatever we had laying around the farm kitchen plus super-fresh Brussels Sprouts. A pack of T-burg Grillers from The Piggery in Ithaca made a flavorful base, I hesitated on tossing in the bright, crunchy Liberty Apple from the Good Life Farm, but in the end confidence prevailed and the results were fantastic.
Brussels sprouts are one of our CSA members’ favorite vegetables, and they make it into our shares during the last weeks of our CSA. Brussels fresh from the stalk are nothing like the canned or frozen sprouts you might have a distant memory of. Try slicing them into thin shreds for a quick, light sauté. I even kept the apple slightly crisp.
The secret to a great pasta dish is in the pasta water (even for gluten-free pasta). Before you drain the pasta scoop out a cup of the water, then when you toss everything together in the pan pour in a bit of the cooking water. It makes everything silky smooth and melts the cheese perfectly. Garnish with more cheese and serve warm.
Pasta with Sausage, Brussels Sprouts, & Apple
8 oz flat curly pasta
1 apple, cored and diced
1 lb Brussels sprouts, stems removed, sliced into shreds
1 lb sausage (T-burg Grillers recommended)
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
juice from 1/2 a lemon
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
Boil the pasta to al dente according to package directions. When the pasta is ready scoop about a cup of water out of the pot, then drain the pasta. Set aside the pasta and water.
Heat a large pot (dutch oven or sauté pan) over medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil, then squeeze the sausage from the casings right into the pan. Use a spatula to break the sausage into crumbles. Cook, stirring frequently until the sausage is cooked through. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and reserve.
Add a splash more oil to the pan, keep the heat on medium, then add the Brussels sprouts and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently then add the apple and cook 2-3 minutes more until the sprouts are bright green, but starting to soften. The apple should still hold its shape. (If you want the apple to be softer, just add it in at the beginning) Add the pasta and sausage into the pan, stir, and pour in about 1/4 cup of the pasta water with the cheese. Stir to combine, and add more pasta water if necessary. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the pasta warm with fresh grated cheese over the top.
Vegetarian Variation: Omit sausage or sub vegetarian sausage, walnuts, or chickpeas. Add minced garlic and olive oil.