Charred Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

Brussels sprouts, am I right folks?

Look, forget everything you think you know about Brussels sprouts. These ain’t your mama’s Brussels sprouts.

The Journey:

I’m not sure how exactly Brussels sprouts got such a bad reputation. They’re not any worse than any other vegetable, and better than a few. Mainly, I think the problem is that a certain previous generation never met a vegetable they couldn’t stew the life (read: flavor) out of (see also, spinach).

I would argue that if you categorically don’t like Brussels sprouts, you have probably never had them prepared properly.

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So that’s the Brussels sprouts, but what about the pasta? Soo delicious. Cheese, eggs, butter, pancetta…not exactly a lean pasta I suppose, but a tasty one!

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The Verdict:

We frequently eat the brussels sprouts by themselves as a side, but in the pasta, they are just plain delightful. This is a fantastic meal, make no mistake.

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The Recipe:

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.

  • lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated
  • 1 lb. pasta (we use penne)
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 2 oz. pancetta (Italian bacon), finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
  • tsp. coarsely ground black pepper, divided
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • cup grated Pecorino plus more for topping
  • large egg yolks, beaten to blend (use the leftover egg whites to make Cinnamon Roasted Nuts!)
  • Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut Brussels sprouts in half and combine in a large bowl with 2 Tbsp. oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Brussels sprouts should be blackened. If leaves fall off, remove them from the oven and set aside (don’t throw them away, those are the most delicious!)
  3. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water (salted if desired), stirring occasionally, until al dente (about 5 minutes for fresh pasta). Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. (Actually, assuming you are cooking the pasta at the same time as the pancetta, you will need to grab a cup of cooking liquid out while it is still boiling.)
  4. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring often, until slightly crisp, about 4 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Immediately add ½ cup pasta cooking liquid to keep pepper from burning; reduce heat to low and gradually add butter, swirling skillet and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until a thick, glossy sauce forms. (Taste as you go and switch to hot water once sauce is adequately seasoned.)
  5. Add pasta to skillet and toss to coat. Add Pecorino; toss to combine. Remove from heat; mix in egg yolks. Add reserved brussels sprout leaves; toss, adding pasta cooking liquid (or hot water) as needed to thin sauce.
  6. Serve pasta topped with more Pecorino.
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3 thoughts on “Charred Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

  1. Pingback: Brussels Sprouts | 40x41: Mobile Midlife Mashup

  2. Pingback: Baconfest 2015, Taste Test | Is this thing on?

  3. Pingback: Aunt Helen’s Apple Pie Cake | Is this thing on?

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