Yes, it’s Monday and I’m posting about brussel sprouts.  When I read that this week’s recipe for The Food Matters Project included brussels sprouts my first instinct was to sit it out.  I have only really cooked with them once in my life and it did not go well.  I was in college and in the spirit of eating healthier, decided to give the petite cabbages a try.  I won’t go into detail about the experience, but let’s just say my apartment had a very foul smell and my boyfriend (now husband) asked me to not make them again.

brussels sprouts

Now, if you think I might be exaggerating this point let me just say when my husband (then boyfriend) saw the bowl of brussels sprouts sitting on the counter last week he got a very nervous look on his face and asked if I was going to be cooking them.  My answer of course was yes, and I reassured him that this time I knew what I was doing.  He looked a bit skeptical, the memory of the foul smelling apartment clearly not forgotten.

brussels sprouts

Luckily, my cooking skills have come a long way since college.

Baked Penne with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apples and Fontina


  • tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • 8 ounces penne, preferably whole wheat
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, roughly chopped
  • 4 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
  • 3 apples, chopped
  • black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds, toast in dry skillet, over medium heat until fragrant and golden


  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a baking sheet place chopped brussels sprouts and apples. Lightly coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it. Add the pasta and cook it halfway through. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water and return the pasta to the pot.
  3. Stir in roasted brussels sprouts, apples, fontina and a splash of the cooking water if the pasta looks dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the pasta mixture into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake, checking once or twice and adding a bit more cooking water if the pasta looks too dry, until the mixture is bubbling, 15-20 minutes. Garnish with chopped almonds and serve

To see the original recipe for this week head over to Marcia’s post for Baked Rigatoni with Brussels Sprouts, Figs and Bleu Cheese on ‘Twenty by Sixty’.

adapted from ‘The Food Matters Cookbook’

brussels sprouts

brussels sprouts

brussels sprouts

For the record…this time my experience with brussels sprouts was quite successful.

Be sure to check out all the creative interpretations of this recipe by my fellow food bloggers over on The Food Matters Project!

23 Responses to Baked Penne with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apples and Fontina

  1. Erin says:

    I’m glad you gave them another shot! I really love brussel sprouts but there have been a couple of times that I cooked them the “wrong” way and could barely eat them. I think roasting them helps bring out the good flavor! Your dish looks delicious (especially with the apples!)

    • Alison says:

      Thanks Erin! I am definitely a fan now. I love roasting all kinds of veggies, not sure why I never thought of trying brussels sprouts before.

  2. Jenn says:

    Oh fontina would have been a wonderful choice too… And I think roasting the little guys is the only way to go :) Looks beautiful!

  3. Joanne says:

    I think everyone has a bad brussels sprout experience at some point or another and it takes a recipe like this to help you face your fears. The pasta looks great!

    • Alison says:

      Joanne–I think you’re right. I’m so glad to have had this opportunity to try them again in this recipe. So much better than the first go around!

  4. Lena says:

    You photographed this dish beautifully! I have not so good memories of brussels sprouts, too. I only ate them at my great grandmothers house and she used to boil them to death. I like them now, roasting really is the way to go.

  5. keelymarie says:

    Great idea to bake the brussel sprouts first! If you feel like trying them again here is the method that first made me a fan.

    Your pictures are just oh so fabulous!

  6. Margarita says:

    I love the roasting part before tossing it in the salad. Definitely brings out their flavors! Yum!

  7. What a great combination of flavors in this dinner! I love your recipe. Thanks for sharing! You have a great blog and I’m glad to have found you.

  8. Lexi says:

    Love the addition of apples. Looks great!

  9. Casey says:

    I was surprised how well apple worked in a pasta recipe. I learned we have to take chances in cooking or we miss a lot. I am glad the brussels sprouts gave you a better experience, this time round.

    • Alison says:

      Casey–I’m learning so much by taking more chances in my cooking. I think this project is just what I needed!

  10. Kristen says:

    How funny that your husband was so traumatized by the first Brussels sprouts experience! I’m pretty sure that is why my husband thinks he doesn’t like them (not from me cooking them though). I’m determined to change his mind :)

    • Alison says:

      Kristen–I know. You’d think he’d have a little more faith in my cooking, it’s come a long way since then. He actually ended up liking this. I think roasting the b. sprouts makes all the difference.

  11. Yum! I love the apple and fontina option. Looks so good.

    • Alison says:

      Thanks! I’m not a bleu cheese fan so fontina was a nice option. Nice and creamy.

  12. brookeO says:

    I love brussels sprouts and will take any reason to make them! This recipe is different than anything I have done with them. Thanks for sharing.

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