As the temperature cools, I look forward each day to a dinner that is not only nutritious but extra cozy too. This easy Brussels Sprouts Pasta is exactly that. Starring crispy sautéed Brussels sprouts and a scrumptious brown butter sauce, this simple yet filling dish wows with rich fall flavors and ingredients.
With just pasta, butter, a squeeze of lemon, and the vegetables you have on hand (Brussels sprouts are my darling at the moment), you can make this rich, all-in-one recipe for a spectacular meal.
If you’d like to make the pasta extra special and harvest-y (because “harvest” anything always makes my heart flutter this time of year), I have easy tips to enhance the fall flavors with herbs, dried fruit, and nuts for you too.
Topping the Brussels sprouts pasta with a light-but-luxurious brown butter sauce is surprisingly easy, and the payoff is outstanding. It gives it a fancy touch that’s sure to bring life to any evening.
The brown butter adds a nutty warmth that helps this meal taste like the very essence of autumn.
(If you’re looking for a thick, creamy Brussels sprouts pasta, check out this picky eater-approved Brussels Sprouts Mac and Cheese.)
Brown Butter: A Must-Try Pasta Delight
The easiest way to elevate your pasta to fancy restaurant quality is to enjoy it with brown butter sauce.
It’s a delectable change of pace from standard red sauce. Plus, it is so E-A-S-Y to make!
- Brown butter sauce is basically regular butter that you gently cook and stir until it browns, which takes only 3 to 5 minutes.
- The “browning” is the milk solids in the butter toasting. The butter changes to a rich, nutty flavor with an alluring caramel aroma.
- So, with minimal time, you have an elegant brown butter sauce that is beyond delish to use for ravioli or any pasta you choose!
Brussels Sprouts and Pasta: A Perfect Pairing
Brussels sprouts transform this recipe into an all-in-one meal.
These green gems are easily one of my favorite vegetables to add to any pasta, and they happen to taste divine with brown butter sauce.
- When sautéed, Brussels sprouts become tender at their centers and crisp at the edges, making them a perfect counterpoint to al dente noodles.
- As with these Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, the sweet caramelized notes that emerge while cooking make for an exceptionally appealing meal.
- Brussels sprouts are good for you! They’re high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins C and K, and are one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. When you combine those nutritional benefits with whole grain pasta, this recipe makes for a hearty, super satisfying meal.
- Brussels sprouts can last for up to 1 week in the fridge, making them easy to keep on hand, both for main dishes like this pasta and for sides like Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Garlic or Balsamic Brussels Sprouts.
How to Know if Brussels Sprouts Have Gone Bad
- You will know if Brussels sprouts go bad, as they will develop a harsh smell or become soft and squishy in texture.
- Avoid washing Brussels sprouts until you’re ready to cook them since moisture can speed up their going bad.
Brussels Sprouts Pasta: Next-Level Upgrades
Here are the easy, fantastic ingredients I chose to add to the pasta for more texture, nutrition, and fall flavor. Pick and choose one, two, or all of the below. You will wow yourself!
- Dried Cherries. These add a slight sweetness that makes the dish taste balanced and well-rounded. Dried cranberries work nicely too.
- Butternut Squash. Butternut squash just tastes like fall. Plus, it’s low in calories and high in vitamins (A and C) and minerals (magnesium and potassium). You could also use cauliflower, mushrooms, or additional Brussels sprouts.
- Pecans. Adding pecans gives the pasta a light crunch that complements the sautéed Brussels sprouts.
- Lemon. With a dash, this lemon brown butter pasta feels fresh and zesty, as the lemon helps the other flavors pop. If you only add one other ingredient to this recipe, make it a lemon.
- Herbs. An upgrade that goes the distance. I used thyme because I still had some in my garden, but brown butter pasta with sage is delicious and classic too.
How to Make Brussels Sprouts Pasta
Be sure to also watch the video for an excellent visual on how to brown butter.
- Toast the pecans at 350 degrees F. Cook the pasta and sauté the Brussels sprouts and squash (or any other vegetables you are using).
- In a separate pan, brown the butter (watch the video for a visual!).
- Add the cooked pasta and remaining ingredients to the pan with the vegetables, then pour that luscious brown butter sauce over the top.
Pair this pasta with a dry Riesling, Pinot Gris, or a lightly oaky Chardonnay. For those who prefer reds, try a Merlot or Pinot Noir.
- To Store. Refrigerate pasta in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. While you can freeze this dish, be aware that some of the mix-ins and veggies may have a different texture once thawed. It will still be delish!
Brussels Sprouts Pasta with Brown Butter
- 1/2 cup raw pecans
- 1/2 pound short whole wheat pasta of choice: orecchiette, farfalle, penne, or rotini (or whatever shape you like)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups ½-inch cubed butternut squash about 1 small squash that’s roughly 1 pound; if you have extra, save it for another time
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus additional to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper plus additional to taste
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts ends trimmed and thinly sliced
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 stick
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ cup dried cherries or cranberries
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans in a single layer on an ungreased rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the pecans are fragrant and toasted, tossing once halfway through. Set a timer—nuts love to burn.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a very large deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high. Once hot, add the butternut squash, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the squash is just barely beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.
- Add the Brussels sprouts. Cook until the sprouts are starting to crisp at the edges and are crisp-tender, 5 to 6 minutes more. Stir periodically but not constantly so that the sprouts have time to crisp on each side.
- While the vegetables cook, brown the butter: Set a bowl large enough to hold the butter once melted by the stove. Place the butter in a small/medium light-colored saucepan and heat over medium-low. Let the butter melt slowly; it will take several minutes. Continue to heat until butter melts completely, foams and crackles, turns clear golden (the crackling will stop), then turns toasty brown. Swirl the pan periodically as it melts and foams. This entire process will take 3 to 5 minutes, depending upon your pan. Once the butter begins to smell lightly nutty, stir it frequently, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Watch the pan carefully in the last few minutes to ensure that the bits at the bottom do not burn (the color will change fast). As soon as the bits turn the color of a pecan, remove the butter from the heat and pour it, along with the toasted bits that are at the bottom of the saucepan, into the bowl to prevent the butter from burning.
- To the pan with the vegetables, add the cooked pasta. Pour the brown butter over the top. Add the thyme, nutmeg, lemon juice, cherries, toasted pecans, and half of the Parmesan. Stir to combine. Taste and add more salt and pepper as desired.
- Serve warm, sprinkled with remaining Parmesan cheese.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate pasta in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. While you can freeze this dish, be aware that some of the mix-ins and veggies may have a different texture once thawed. It will still be delish!
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