Those little "goodfellas": Brussels Sprouts and Hot Sausage Tortiglioni…

Brussel sprout and hot sausage tortiglioni

2 Servings

Brussels sprouts are not very popular in my country and they certainly weren’t on my family’s table. I don’t think I can recollect one time that I ate them in my house or anywhere else in Italy.

Things started changing a couple of years ago when I decided to host my first Thanksgiving’s dinner. During my “due diligence” period, in my quest for dishes traditionally served in the USΒ for that holiday, I found out that Brussels sprouts were a must as a side dish, stir-fried or roasted, preferably with bacon or pancetta and even with raisins.

Little by little my acquaintance with these little guys turned into a beautiful friendship and now I’m totally in love with them for several different reasons.

Brussel sprout and hot sausage tortiglioni

First, their appearance – because no matter what they say, appearances still count! πŸ™‚ Their vibrant green has the magical power to put me in a good mood and their shape reminds me of a mini peony bud, one of my favorite flowers. I wouldn’t mind arranging them in a vase. I’m sure they would look lovely on any table! πŸ˜‰

Second, they are really good for our health: they are an excellent source of vitamins, essential minerals and fiber. Since I’m on a perennial diet, they are a winner in my book!

Third, these buds are super versatile. They complement meat or fish wonderfully, they can been thrown in any salad and they go beautifully with pasta.

Needless to say, pasta is always one of my first picks πŸ™‚Β especially on weeknights! “Dressing up” some pasta with healthy vegetables and a little flavor is very easy and requires very little time, with the additional benefit that your conscience is virtually clean because, after all, you are eating your veggies!

For this recipe, I decide to use some hot sausage to go with the Brussels sprouts. If you decide to cook it for your kids, you may replace it with some non-spicy sausage. Her Majesty is not into spicy food and your kid may not be either…

Brussel sprout and hot sausage tortiglioni


1/2 Cup, Extravirgin olive oil
1 Carrot, finely chopped
1 Celery, finely chopped
1/3 Cup, finely chopped onion
2 Hot sausages (about 7 ounces), loose
About 10 ounces, small Brussels sprouts, rinsed and cut in halves
1/2 Cup, beef or vegetable stock
About 7 ounces, Tortiglioni
2Tbsp, grated Parmigiano cheese


In a non-stick medium pot, pour the olive oil and add the carrot, the celery and the onion (in Italian, we called this mixture “soffritto“) and cook until the onion softens and becomes translucent.

Add the sausage and some salt (to taste) and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp. Using a strainer, transfer the sausage mixture to a bowl to drain. Put the sausage mixture aside, and return the drained olive oil to the pot.

Add the Brussels sprouts, some salt (to taste) and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Add the stock and bring to boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the stock is almost completely evaporated. Transfer the sausage mixture back to the pot, toss to coat and let the rest of the stock completely evaporate.

In the meanwhile, put a large pot of salted water on the stove to boil. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta and put it in the pot with the Brussels sprouts and the sausage and toss to coat.

Put the pasta into the serving plates/bowls and dust the top of each plate with some Parmigiano cheese.

I dedicate these little green buds to all the peopleΒ who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Hopefully the leprechaun will love them! πŸ˜‰

Talk to you soon!

F. Xx

Glass statuette and flower composition with Brussel sprout backdrop

Follow FsT on:

0 thoughts on “Those little "goodfellas": Brussels Sprouts and Hot Sausage Tortiglioni…

  1. Margot @ Gather and Graze

    Ooooh Francesca, I’d love to learn to at least like Brussels Sprouts… though having been forced to eat them as a child (and subsequently being sick…) I find it really hard to even pick up a few to place in a bag at the markets, let alone cook them up! Your recipe is inspiring though, so I’ll see if I can work up the courage. πŸ™‚

    1. Francesca Post author

      Oh no, Margot! Don’t do that for my sake please! I know exactly how hard recovering from a childhood “food trauma” may be! I still have nightmares about it! πŸ˜‰
      Quoting a famous Florence poet, let us not think about them, but look and move on! πŸ˜‰

  2. StefanGourmet

    I’m not a big fan of cavoletti, but your recipe sounds pretty good! Sometimes I cook the sprouts along with penne rigate in the same pot, and then toss pasta and sprouts with a sauce made of onion, prosciutto, white wine, and cream, as well as abundant parmigiano.

  3. Just Add Attitude

    I have never been a great fan of brussel sprouts although I have always liked the look of them. Your inspired use of them with hot sausages, pasta, and parmasen makes me think I should give them another try. As always lovely images by Stefano. Bx πŸ˜‰

  4. Heather @ Sweet Precision

    Brussels sprouts were one of my favorite vegetables growing up as a little kid! I made them for Thanksgiving for the first time last year and they were the perfect addition. I’d never thought of creating a pasta dish with brussels sprouts- I love the idea! I’m sure that Her Majesty loved every bite of it πŸ™‚ I’d heard the term soffritto before but I never knew what it meant! Thank you for sharing yet another delicious looking recipe Francesca!

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, sweet Heather! I bet your Thanksgiving dish was delicious! I think they complement the turkey and the mash potatoes beautifully, don’t you think?
      Have a great weekend, my dear! πŸ™‚

  5. chef mimi

    I honestly didn’t know that they were traditional for Thanksgiving in the US! I don’t know too many people who even eat them! But they are fabulous and versatile. I even made them in a simple pasta on my blog once -something you would appreciate because of the Italian simplicity! But I also love your pasta dish. Anything with sausage is wonderful!

    1. Francesca Post author

      Oh well! What is traditional for some is not necessarily traditional for others. I think tradition is what you establish with your family and friends and creates lasting memories. πŸ˜ƒ I’ll check out your recipe for sure. I’m always eager to learn new ways to cook Brussels sprouts. Thank you, Mimi.

  6. laurasmess

    This is beautiful Francesca! I love brussels sprouts but my husband hates them, so I’m always trying to figure out new ways to make them shine. This dish looks delicious. I will definitely give it a try soon! xx

  7. sabine

    ….sorry, I was too fast with that “post” button πŸ™‚ need another cup of coffee perhaps…So they wereΒ΄t popular, but I learned to prepare them ways I love them. This recipe with the sausages sounds amazing to me, the combination is simply outstanding, Francesca! I will definitely try!

  8. Amanda | What's Cooking

    I love brussels sprouts! I really think they take well to any seasoning and are so versatile. They got a bad rap back in the 50s in the US, but they’ve definitely made a come back and I’m so glad! This recipe is great. Gorgeous photos. I want to reach in and eat a bowl of that right now!

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Amanda! It’s amazing how food can go out of style and then come back and be big again! My motto is very simple: the food I like will always be in fashion! πŸ˜‹

  9. Fae's Twist & Tango

    I love brussels sprouts since I grew teeth in my infancy and could eat solid food. If there is an official name for it in Farsi or not, we used to call them little cabbages. My mother will serve them at every festive table as garnish/side-dish. This pasta is definitely up my alley. Photography and presentation is spectacular! Yum!

  10. Coffee and Crumpets

    I grew up with Brussels sprouts not at home, but at school. Ugh, they were horrible, all brown and tired and smelly, throughout the school you could smell them.
    But, I didn’t let that deter me in adulthood. I absolutely love sprouts and make them often. They are sweet and delicious and I have made sure to never recreate the school recipe…which was basically just boiling them to death.
    Love this pasta! Pasta makes all things wonderful πŸ™‚
    And my son, who is 9, eats jalapeΓ±os on everything. He tolerates heat better than even I do! So for him, spicier the better.

    1. Francesca Post author

      The smell must have been unbearable! 😷😷😷
      I have never had boiled Brussels sprouts! A must-try?
      What a special little boy you have! It’s very rare to find a kid who doesn’t make a fuss about spicy food! πŸ˜‡
      And yes! Pasta makes all things wonderful!
      Thank you, Nazneen!

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Suzanne! So very kind of you! If you love Brussels sprouts, you’ll love them even more with pasta! It’s a very satisfying dish in which carbohydrates and veggies live … happily ever after! πŸ˜‰ Try out and let me know! πŸ™‚

  11. talkavino

    Brussels sprouts became incredibly popular over the last 3-4 years in US, and now literally each and every “avant-garde” restaurant offers at least one Brussels sprouts dish on their menu.

    The pasta looks delicious!

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you, Anatoli! Very interesting point! Yes, I have noticed that even very upscale restaurants’ menus offer Brussels sprouts but I didn’t realize it was a recent thing. Maybe because I started eating them only a couple of years ago and when I lived in the city I didn’t even cook. Back then, I wasn’t paying too much attention to these guys! πŸ˜‰

  12. Dina

    Dressing up the pasta with our favourite Rosenkohl is a great idea, we’ll certainly try it out. Brussels sprouts are wonderful and so tasty, the German cuisine loves it. πŸ™‚
    Gorgeous photos by Stefano, Francesca. I love your flower arrangement and the exquisite Laliquelike sculpture on the famous black background.
    Big hug to you all from us,
    Dina, Klausbernd, Siri and Selma x
    and a nosekiss for Sofia x

    1. Francesca Post author

      Hello there! Hope you are all doing well and getting ready for spring! I’m for sure! πŸ™‚
      I didn’t know they were so popular in the German cuisine! Am I the only one that discovered them as an adult? πŸ˜‰
      Amazing eye, Dina! Indeed, it is a Lalique sculpture! Your photographer’s eyes miss nothing! πŸ™‚
      F. Xx
      PS: Sofia is sending a virtual lick your way!

  13. thesinglegourmetandtraveller

    Lovely recipe and great way to use Brussels sprouts. I actually love them. I think their bad reputation in UK comes from years ago when they were seriously overcooked at Xmas and arrived dull, soggy and disgusting on one’s plate. But properly cooked – as you have – they’re wonderful.

    1. Francesca Post author

      Thank you so much! I didn’t know they were a traditional Xmas dish in the UK. I never stop learning about these little guys! Yes, I agree. In order to enjoy them, they must be cooked just right! There is no other way! πŸ™‚

      1. Gabi Coatsworth

        There are a traditional Xmas dish in the UK, but I think these days they’re served shredded, sauteed and mixed with a little bacon (pancetta for you, maybe, Francesca). Or parboiled, then roasted in olive oil, with a generous dose of ground black pepper. Very good!