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This pasta dish boasts a unique texture

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This zesty pasta is a playful riff on choucroute garnie, the classic Alsatian dish. The usual suspects (pork and cabbage) show up in the form of bratwurst, Brussels sprouts and sauerkraut. Instead of potatoes, pasta joins the party, and everything comes together in a tangy sauce of Parmesan, sour cream and fresh dill. Buy sauerkraut that looks fresh and crunchy for best flavor and texture. For a more kid-friendly meal, swap in shell pasta. If you happen to find yourself with leftovers, they make a tasty cold pasta salad.

Orecchiette With Brussels Sprouts and Bratwurst
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 12 ounces fully cooked bratwurst (about 4 links), sliced 1/2-inch thick (see Tip)
• 1 cup thinly sliced onion
• 12 ounces Brussels sprouts, quartered if large or halved if small (about 3 cups)
• 8 ounces drained sauerkraut, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
• 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
• Salt and pepper
• 1 pound orecchiette
• 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces), more for serving
• 1/2 cup sour cream (4 ounces)
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, parsley or chives

Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the bratwurst and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts, sauerkraut and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the Brussels sprouts are crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Return the pasta and reserved cooking water to the pot over low heat. Add the sausage mixture, Parmesan, sour cream and dill and stir until slightly thickened and saucy, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with more Parmesan, if desired.
Total time: 20 minutes, serves 4.

Fully cooked bratwurst is widely available in most markets. If using fresh, lightly prick them with a fork, and simmer in water or stock (or pan-fry in oil or butter) until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

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