a home cook with notions & an appetite
At the end of the Farmer’s Market, the Brussels sprouts are everywhere. One of these years, I’ll stop thinking and just buy the ten-pound flat and be done with it, but for now, we find ourselves buying pints of the sprouts on a regular basis. Before you start picturing the sprouts of old, the ones that were boiled-to-death and sat between you and a simple Jello-pop – the ones that had only managed to have their sulfuric taste profile amped up – know that was something really bad. Bad and wrong. Heck, based on the current season of Top Chef alone, I say we’re in a bit of a Brussels sprouts renaissance where the world knows of the nuttiness and fine green flavors that these guys are more than capable of imparting on a dish.
With plenty of sprouts on hand and a long day behind us, husband and I were looking for a fast main dish that we could use the sprouts in. Love & Olive Oil had a recipe for Spaghetti with Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts that I altered a bit for ingredients I had on hand (and our pasta-eating habits):
Here’s what we used for 4 servings:
Prep is pretty straightforward. Cut bacon into pieces. Chopping down the Brussels sprouts is really your biggest time investment in the dish. So if you’re halfway competent with a knife, you’re eating pretty fast. While I inspected my sprouts for bad leaves and then cut each one down into shreds, I was boiling the water for my pasta so it could cook while I cooked the topping. Oh, yeah, chopping onions was also involved (and draining tomatoes…and let’s be honest, I had chopped garlic already):
Bacon cooks in a pan over medium heat. Once bacon has started to brown, garlic and onion join the party for a few minutes (three-ish). Spaghetti should also be boiling about now. Once the three minutes are up, the fun really starts because it’s time for the sprouts to hit the party. Tossing these about for 5 minutes, what you’ll get is not only a nice and fragrant sprout, but once of the most beautiful greens you can find in the cabbage family. I added the tomatoes and salt and pepper at this point and tested my pasta for al dente-ness:
Once the pasta was done (which was timed pretty well, if I do say so myself), I added the pasta to the pan with about a half cup of reserved pasta water and tossed everything to coat. Another salt and pepper adjustment and a quick topping of shredded Parmesan and life is good. This is a fall dinner that anyone can get behind.