three-cheese macaroni bake with brussels sprouts

by Chen

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Eew! Huh?

Maybe human beings can be categorized into two groups–those who love brussels sprouts till the end of the world or hate them to death because of that “bitterness”, but I’d like to use “earthiness”. They look like baby cabbages while taste nuttier with a softer and creamier texture if consumed in the right season (aka now/winter). Plus, they have longer shelf life compared to other leafy greens, which makes brussels sprouts very handy, and that’s why I always have them standing by in the fridge. Given my occasionally poorly stocked pantry, it’s not a problem to prepare one of the most comforting dishes without rushing to the grocery store.

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three-cheese macaroni bake with brussels sprouts
Makes 4 small servings

1 cup macaroni
1/2 lb brussels sprouts
1 cup milk
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
1 oz brie
2 tbsp grated parmesan
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 scant tsp nutmeg
1/2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F. Place butter in an 8-inch cast iron skillet and leave the skillet in the oven while it’s heating.

To prepare the brussels sprouts, half each head lengthwise. Trim the end then slice lengthwise as thinly as possible.

Undercook the macaroni in well salted water by one minute as suggested by the package. Fish out the pasta and add the brussels sprouts to the pot. Remove from the heat immediately once they are all in. Drain and set aside.

Return the pot to low heat. Add the milk, mozzarella, brie, garlic powder, and mustard. Stir to combine. Once the mixture is steaming but not boiling, turn off the heat. It might be a little lumpy, which is fine and better than being curdled. Fold in the pasta and brussels sprouts until evenly coated. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Carefully take the skillet out of the oven. Use a brush or paper towel to brush the wall of the skillet with the already-melted butter. Transfer the pasta into the skillet and sprinkle the parmesan on the top. Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Serve warm.

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