Friday, February 25, 2011

Brussels Sprouts and Pear Pasta with Balsamic Reduction

I love vinegar.  I think vinegar is very important part of the salad dressing.  It really change the characteristic of the salad depends on which vinegar is used.  I keep at least 4-5 different vinegars at home.  Red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white balsamic vinegar with fruits infusion, rice wine vinegar, Chinese black rice wine vinegar are in my refrigerator right now. 
I change the type of vinegar for the salad depends on the main dish.  I would use red wine vinegar if I'm cooking creamy tomato sauce pasta which has natural sweetness.  I rather have some strong tartness for the salad.  But For anchovy pasta, I'd use balsamic to balance out the harshness.  Sometimes I mix the vinegars, or mix with citrus.
For years I was buying very reasonable balsamic vinegar at a super market.  It was alright.  But when I double the budget for the balsamic vinegar, it really tasted so much better.  It brought my salad eating experience to the next level.

I bought nice looking Brussles sprouts thinking to bring to the Sunday dinner at my father in law.  But He was cooking hamburgers that day so I ended up not bring them.  Therefore, I had quite a lot of Brussles sprouts on my hands.  
I decided to venture a little bit.  I roasted the sprouts and pear in the oven and mixed with thin spaghetti and balsamic reduction.  That sounds a little too sweet, so I curved sharp parmesan cheese to tie everything together.

*Brussels Sprouts and Pear Pasta with Balsamic Reduction*
1/2 lb. pasta of your choice
8~10 Brussles sprouts
1 pear
2 table spoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
As much parmesan cheese as you wish to use

< 1 > Cut the Brussles sprouts to half, and slice pear to thin pieces.
< 2 > Mix with 1 table spoon olive oil in a baking pan and bake it 15~20 minute at 400F.
< 3 > Cook the pasta to al dente.
< 4 > After the sprouts and pear is roasted and pasta is cooked, mix them with the other table spoon of olive oil and salt & pepper.  Serve it on a plate and curve the parmesan cheese onto the pasta.
< 5 > Sprinkle balsamic vinegar reduction all over and it's ready!

*Balsamic Vinegar Reduction*
Just boil down balsamic vinegar to the half of original volume.
You might want to start it when you start boiling the water for the pasta.

I personally think Gorgonzola will be nice instead of parmesan.  But any sharp cheese will bring the sweetness of the vegetable, fruits and the reduction together.
This dish is very light and has spring feeling...  I think it will be a nice complement with pork or duck.

So I have about 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar reduction left.  It comes in handy.  I drizzled it on onion and liver the other night.  I'm going to drizzle it again on beets and goat cheese salad tonight.

I made the salad with baby spinach, arugula, cherry tomatoes, blood orange, and emmental cheese pieces for lunch.  Instead of making salad dressing, I sprinkled salt, pepper and olive oil.  Then squeezed half of a lemon over and served it with a balsamic vinegar reduction on side.  it was nice.

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