Brussels Sprouts Orecchiette & 5 Spice Grilled Salmon Fillets

Pasta is so interesting, isn’t it? It’s not always about spaghetti or linguine.

So  far I’ve tried raviolipantacce, cavatappi besides the usual linguine and spaghetti. Over the years, I’ve made macaroni and cheese, lasagne, shells and a whole load others. I never tire from trying them all out. And as I experiment, I find that different shapes go with different kinds of sauces.

Those with grooves like macaroni and penne capture sauces better. And I’ve discovered orecchiette seems to go well with vegetables and a light dressing. Orecchiette look like little ears and I feel the smooth surface would be able to adsorb something of a thinner consistency  They remind me of mee hoon kueh, a Hokkien hand-pinched flour pasta. I will make that one day when I get my family around for dinner. It’s always more fun having mee hoon kueh with everyone around the table.

I made this pasta with frozen Brussels Sprouts. Brussels sprouts!! And the frozen one really works here. So I threw in an Italian Sausage, Cherry Tomatoes, Frozen Brussels Sprouts, Garlic, Black Soft Olives (not pictured) & Orecchiette.Brussels Sprouts Orrechiette 1

I like to start by rendering the fats from that sausage. Don’t underestimate the power of one sausage. The flavour explosion that comes with an Italian sausage in a pasta dish is pretty amazing.Brussels Sprouts Orrechiette 2

All the veggies go in to soften down and warm up some. I like how thawed Brussels are already pretty tender and sweet.Brussels Sprouts Orrechiette 3

The garlic is added  in towards the end for fuller flavour. I wanted a stronger garlic fragrance because… I just love to have garlic breath. haha.. Come on, it’s really good for you! It’s nature’s antibiotic.Brussels Sprouts Orrechiette 4

At the last moment (as always!) I remembered I have some olives that need to be used up so I dunked that in.Brussels Sprouts Orrechiette 5

I tossed in some pasta cooking water to create a little sauce. Always nice to have some sauce. Then toss with the cooked pasta and a good good squeeze of lemon juice.Brussels Sprouts Orrechiette 6

Doesn’t that look good? Brussels Sprouts Orrechiette 7

Parmesan gratings always make a pasta dish look and taste infinitely better.Brussels Sprouts Orrechiette 8

This pasta shape is definitely different. Much much thicker than any other pasta shapes I’ve tried. I have to admit it’s not my number 1 favourite but it works well with veggies. I see a nice salad coming from leftovers.Brussels Sprouts Orrechiette 9

We had this with some salmon fillets that I seasoned with some 5-spice powder, salt and pepper. 5 Spice Grilled Salmon 1

It was a really good fresh protein complement to this veggie orrechiette.5 Spice Grilled Salmon 2

Look and that charred skin! This is pretty salty with a nice salt crust.5 Spice Grilled Salmon 3

All in all, it was a mighty fine dinner. On my gaudy table drape. 😛Brussels Sprouts Orrechiette 10

What kinds of fancy pasta shapes have you tried? Which is your favourite?





“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalm 23:6)

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Brussels Sprouts Orecchiette
serves 4


250 gms Orecchiette (or pasta of your choice)
2 tbsp Olive Oil
15 frozen Brussels Sprouts, halved
8-10 Cherry Tomatoes
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Italian Sausage, skinned & broken up
10 pitted Olives (I used dry-cured soft black olives)
2-3 tbsp Lemon Juice

  1. Boil orecchiette in lots of salted boiling water until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, heat up olive oil and fry Italian sausage until browned, about 1 minute, on MED HIGH.
  3. Toss in Brussels sprouts & cherry tomatoes. Saute until Brussels have browned, about 5 minutes, and tomatoes have broken down.
  4. Add in minced garlic and stir around until raw edge has cooked off, about 1/2 minute.
  5. Scatter in olives & cooked pasta and stir until mixed thoroughly. Add in some reserved pasta-cooking water & lemon juice until sauce is to your liking. I used about 1/2 cup.
  6. Serve with a nice grating of Parmesan.

5 Spice Grilled Salmon Fillet
serves 4


4 Salmon fillets
1 tbsp 5 Spice Powder
2 tbsp Salt
1/2 tsp ground Black Pepper

  1. Heat up the grill pan on HIGH.
  2. Pat dry the salmon fillet very well.
  3. Mix the 5 spice powder, salt & pepper.
  4. Sprinkle the mix on both sides of the fillets and rub it in.
  5. Grill the salmon fillets skin side down first, without any oil.
  6. Flip over after 1 minute. I cooked my for an additional 1 minute for medium rare. Cook to your liking.
  7. Serve with a nice squeeze of lemon.


  1. Hi Jayne! Love orecchiette! I always use it for soupy pasta and kids love the size and shape. You inspired me to make pasta with Brussel sprouts. I LOVE them, but my family doesn’t. I think adding in a pasta is a wonderful idea!

    • Thanks Nami! That made my day. I was also just experimenting but I feel thawed frozen brussels sprouts worked so well cos it gets all soft and sweet so quickly. Complemented the orecchiette. Hope your kids would eventually learn to love them. I know I used to dislike certain veggies (read: bittergourd and kailan) and now they are one of my top favourite veggies. There is hope! 😉

  2. This looks delicious! I’ve not tried Orecchiette before…but i like the look of its shape. I’ll look out for it in the supermarket.

    • Thanks, Trish! It’s a pretty interesting shape if you like thicker pastas. Or as Nami mentioned, goes very well in pasta soups. 🙂 I’m playing with other pasta shapes recently. Will post more! By the way, your blog is so pretty! I love how you bring highlight the aesthetics in even the most mundane of things.

  3. What a wonderful dish. My family loves Brussels Sprouts! I make them at least once or twice a week. 🙂 Those are very unique flavor for salmon. I usually give it a honey mustard glaze. Guess I’ll have to give this a try next time.

    • Wow, your family is so fortunate to get Brussels sprouts so often! I had it about twice last year and once with this pasta dish this year. LOL. It is pretty hard to come by good ones. But that has never stopped me when I do see a pack of nice sprouts. 🙂 Hope you like this recipe!


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