This is such a simple dish, you could throw it together in minutes on any weeknight; but its simplicity does not preclude its elegance. The crunchy texture of the pecans matches perfectly with the delicate flavor of the Brussels spouts and the proscuitto’s subtle saltiness, making this the ideal pasta course for an autumn dinner party.
1 pound fettucine
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pint Brussels sprouts
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
4 slices prosciutto or Serrano ham
Freshly ground black pepper
White truffle oil, for garnish (optional)
Fill a medium size pot with about 2 inches of water, place a steamer basket over it, cover, and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water, add the salt, and bring to a rolling boil. Add the fettucine and cook until al dente. Drain well. Add one tablespoon of butter and a few turns of black pepper ; mix thoroughly. Set aside and keep warm while preparing the Brussels sprouts.
Clean and halve the Brussels sprouts. Place them in the steamer and steam for 5-8 minutes, uncovered, until crisp-tender.
Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and melt the remaining butter. Remove the Brussels sprouts from the steamer and add them to the pan, cut side down. Leave them to caramelize, undisturbed, for 3-4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the pasta.
Toss the pecans and prosciutto in the same pan in the remaining butter for a minute or so, until the pecans start to toast and the prosciutto starts to crsip. Add to the pasta and toss to mix. Serve immediately, drizzled with a little truffle oil, if using.
To elevate this dish to a level of sophistication beyond store-bought fettucine, use handmade pumpkin pasta.
Recipe by Mark Tafoya