27 March 2013

Ravioli with Brussels Sprouts, Pecans, and Bacon

So now for a complete change of pace....Since my last post was about as unhealthy and lacking in nutritionally redeeming qualities as a pie could possibly be, I figured I should throw in some vegetables.  My arteries needed some time to recover from the pie. 

Brussels sprouts may be the most divisive of all the vegetables.  Everyone I have ever met either loves them or hates them.  I mean really loves them or really hates them.  I have never found any middle ground when it comes to Brussels sprouts.  I am firmly in the pro-Brussels sprouts camp. I love, love, love them! I love them so much that I feel the need to use exclamation points and I am totally not an exclamation point kinda gal.  The only other food I can think of that brings out sich great division with the folks I know is the tomato.  I know so many folks who don't like tomatos, but still eat spaghetti sauce and ketchup (which makes absolutely no sense to me at all).  I can't imagine those same folks being down with dipping anything in a sauce that is Brussels sprout-based....

Brussels sprouts are tiny relatives of cabbages (no wonder they look like that) and have been known to be cultivated for over since the 13th century in what we now know as Belgium.  That's how folks think the name came from.  Seems sort of obvoius, but if you know anything about food nomenclature, then you know that the origins for food names are not always so straightforward.  You can also cook them any number of ways -- steaming, roasting, sauteeing.  You can even eat them raw, just like cabbage.  If you have never had them any way but whole and steamed or boiled, then you should try this recipe.  Slicing and sauteeing them completely changes the flavor.  They are nothing short of delightful.  Even my husband ate a plate of this and he has a permanent settlement in the anti-Brussels sprout camp.

Chop up of pecans and get your Brussels sprouts ready to go.

To prep the Brussels sprouts, cut off the stem at bottom, peel off the first layer of leaves on the outside and slice into thin slices.


Chop up some bacon and cook it up in your skillet.

Remove the bacon from the skillet and let it drain on some paper towels.
Add some olive oil to the skillet with the bacon drippings and add your pecans.  Saute them until they are a little bit toasty.  Be sure not to burn them, though.  Nuts are famous for burning as soon as you turn your back to them.
Toss in your Brussels sprouts and some red wine vinegar and cook with the pecans until the sprouts are just cooked through and a little soft, but still crunchy.  It only takes 4 or 5 minutes.
Add the bacon back to the mixture and serve it over some cooked cheese ravioli.  Drizzle a little more olive oil on top and sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese.  Dig in and enjoy the somewhat healthy yumminess.
Ravioli with Brussels Sprouts, Pecans, and Bacon
serves 4-6
1 pkg refrigerated ravioli
6 slices bacon, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
olive oil and Parmesan cheese, for serving
Cook the ravioli according to the directions on the package.
Meanwhile, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove the bacon to drain on paper towels; set aside.
Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the bacon drippings in the skillet.  Add the pecans and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the pecans are lightly toasted, about 3 minutes.  Add the sliced sprouts, salt, pepper and cook until the sprouts are just tender, about 4 minutes.  Stir in the vinegar, add the bacon back to the skillet and stir to combine.
Top the cooked ravioli with the sprout mixture, a drizzle of olive oil and some grated Parmesan cheese.

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