Long title! I know! But I just wanted to make sure that each and every separate delicious component that collectively makes this such a stand up and take notice pasta dish, got it's appropriate recognition. No sad, unappreciated ingredients here! And if Meatless Monday is something you do (or are trying to do better) I've got an easy, ready-in-under-an-hour dinner that's yours for the taking (well, you're going to have to actually make it yourself since the Willy Wonka technology of grabbing the food through the screen hasn't quite been perfected yet!)
Do you know about brown butter? Before I tested it out a few years ago, I had heard of it but never tried it and doubted that anything could make the taste of butter improved. Boy, was I clueless!! Not only is it a cinch to whip up, but it gives whatever you use it in, a nuttier, richer, more nuanced flavor. If you've never tried it, now is the time to do so, because here it lightly coats everything with that wonderful silky, nutty, flavor.
In addition to that wonderful brown butter, this dish is chock full of roasted, slightly caramelized sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and red onions. The three balance each other out not only in flavor, but in color too! Pretty, huh?
Rounding everything out are the crunchy pecans, sweet/tart craisins and the creamy, slightly salty smoothness of the feta. Every bite is full of so many interesting but entirely compatible flavors and textures!
Throw together a simple salad and all of a sudden an out-of-the-ordinary Monday night dinner seems entirely possible! And now on a totally unrelated note, I want to wish my husband and best taste-tester a very tasty and happy birthday! Thanks for putting up with all the drama--kitchen and otherwise! I love you!!
Bow Ties in Brown Butter Sauce with Sweet Potato, Brussels Sprouts, Feta, Pecans and Craisins
Makes 4-6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes; Cook Time: About 45 minutes
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved if large
1 small red onion, sliced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 box bow tie pasta (or any other pasta you like)
3/4 cup roasted pecans
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbles
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and red onion on a large rimmed baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 25-30 minutes, turning every now and then, until vegetables are tender and beginning to caramelize. Remove from the oven and set aside.
2. While veggies are cooking, place the butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Cook for a few minutes, swirling the pan a few times, until the butter turns golden brown and you start to seem brown specks on the bottom of the pan. Skim the foam off the top and transfer to a bowl.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package so that's it's cooked but still firm. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Pour the browned butter over the pasta and toss. Add the vegetables and toss again. Turn the heat to medium and heat until the whole dish is heated through. Turn off the heat and add the pecans, dried cranberries and the feta. Stir gently. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.
4. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheated on the stovetop or microwave.
Note: Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod. I made a few changes with proportions and some ingredients.