As a child, I despised brussel sprouts. I would sit at the dinner table refusing to eat even a single one and eventually my parents would tell me I couldn't leave the table until I ate them. When that happened I would hold my nose as tight as possible to avoid smelling them and tasting them and when I choked them all down I would run from the table as fast as I could. Thankfully, I now fully embrace them (sometimes when you get older you realize how silly you were as a child) and when the cooler temps arrive, I get super excited for the arrival of the mini green cabbages on the stem. My favorite way to eat them is by roasting them (obviously) and then making a tangy vinaigrette with Dijon mustard and maple syrup, but I yearned to make the side dish merge into a pasta dish so I could make a one pot meal (obviously). Inspiration struck in the form of the NYTimes last week, when apparently Melissa Clark was thinking the same thing as me and decided to make the pasta of my dreams. It's earthy and green and salty (yay bacon!) and substantial which is what I look for in every one pot meal I make. I ate it straight from the bowl for dinner and proceeded to devour it at lunch the next day which is always a sign I love it.
Orecchiete with Brussel Sprouts and Bacon
Recipe adapted from the NYTimes
Serves 1, generously
1 cup orecchiete or penne
1/4 cup diced pancetta or bacon (the good stuff!), diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups thinly sliced brussel sproouts
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh lemon juice for serving
Generous 2 tablespoons parmesan or pecorino
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
In a large saute pan, cook the pancetta until the fat has rendered about 3 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until the garlic is golden brown in color. Add the sliced brussel sprouts to the pan and toss them in the pancetta fat. (If the pancetta or bacon does not release at least a tablespoon of fat then add some extra olive oil to the pan.) Toss the brussel sprouts with the red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook in the pan until the brussel sprouts begin to char and wilt.
Drain the pasta from the pot and add the pasta to the pan. Toss to combine with the brussel sprouts. Add the cheese and lemon and taste. Adjust the seasonings as necessary. Feel free to eat the final product straight from the pot.