Hi, friends! I made you some pasta. Pasta with Brussels sprouts. Pasta with prosciutto. Pasta with only a hint of cheese. You hear me, people? I toned it down on the cheese!
I’ve been hearing a lot about how cutting out dairy is “good” for your diet, and I’ve been simultaneously rolling my eyes and tossing my hair in said people’s faces. Rude? Sure. But, you must fight fire with fire. I mean, I guess if anyone is a candidate for a dairy scale-back, it’d be me. I have dairy at pretty much every meal, every day of my life, so I suppose that might be overdoing it. But, excuse me if I take cream in my coffee, have cheese on my sandwiches, and consider ice cream a basic snack — I’m only human.
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Then I had a thought — if I could pull off sober January, maybe I really could cut down on some cheese. But for an entire month? Never happening. Once a week? Seems a bit aggressive. One meal a year? Not exactly a commitment. But one day a month? Yeah, I can swing that.
To my horror of horrors, limiting this entire dish to just 1/2 cup of Parmigiano wasn’t so bad. I actually liked it. It felt light, and airy, and good. I was totally full after eating it, but didn’t suffer that immediate cheese-over when you’re all, "oh my god, I will never wear pants again." I was digging the barely there sauce with hints of lemon and garlic, the simply seasoned Brussels, the crispy prosciutto, and the perfectly cooked fusilli. It just worked, ya know?
I’m guessing your life needs more easy, weeknight dishes, so definitely add this to your rotation. If you’re not a Brussels fan, swap in some broccoli or peas for a quick veggie substitute, and if prosciutto isn't your thing, toss in some pre-cooked shrimp or chicken instead. And of course, add as little or as much cheese as your dairy-loving heart desires — your secret is safe with me.
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10 oz fusilli pasta
1 lb Brussels sprouts
4 oz cubed prosciutto
1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
1 cup pasta water
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp crushed or minced garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 tsp sea salt & coarse black peppercorn
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until al dente (around 10 minutes), then drain into colander, reserving 1 cup of pasta water while doing so. Return fusilli to pot and combine with leftover pasta water, then set aside.
While pasta cooks, chop Brussels sprouts into shavings. Set aside. In large skillet brown prosciutto in 1 tsp EVOO over medium high heat until crispy, six to eight minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to paper towel lined bowl to cool.
In same skillet sauté Brussels in remaining 2 tsps EVOO, garlic, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Toss continuously over medium heat until tender, then add in pasta and reserve water.
Reduce flame to low, then stir in chicken broth and half of Parmigiano, combining well. Allow all ingredients to simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat. Top fusilli with prosciutto and remaining cheese, then immediately plate and serve.
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Christine Fischer of Cooking with Cakes may not be a pro chef, but that doesn't mean she's a mere novice in the kitchen. The self-taught culinarian — who's all for healthy, accessible recipes — knows that succumbing to your five-day bacon craving does not make you weak. It just makes you human.