Charred Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

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Like many kids, I grew up with the belief that I hated Brussels sprouts. I blame the many cartoons where parents served their offspring said green vegetable much to their horror and dislike. They get a bad rap especially when boiled or steamed and I mean sometimes they do have a funky odor once (over)cooked.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Charred Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

I am really not even sure if I had ever had Brussels sprouts until recently, but I’ve been trying my best to give them a chance. Plus they are a super healthy vegetable!

I’ve had three great (and easy) Brussels sprout dishes of late. The first was at the Food and Wine Festival’s Greenmarket Brunch where we had them roasted and served with a tangy sauce from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm. Anyone who is a Brussels sprout hater need only try this preparation… You’ll be a fan!

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Food and Wine Festival Brunch

The second was during thanksgiving where we roasted them (as you can guess this is kind of a great way to make them taste amazing). Roughly chop them, spread onto a baking sheet with some chopped pancetta and sliced red onion and roast until tender. Again, man, oh man, were these good!

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Yet, I wanted to continue my love affair with said sprouts and do something a little different. I found a cool recipe for pasta carbonara with charred Brussels Sprouts from Bon Appetit! It looked too good to pass up making.

I’ve made Carbonara a few times before. The sauce is rich made with raw eggs, butter and cheese that are combined off the heat. Bacon or pancetta in this case add a salty flavor and black pepper is key to add balance. I also will say that I splurged and bought $8 pancetta and really good Pecorino… not a necessity, but well worth it, in my opinion.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Charred Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

It’s a simple dish but impressive… though it is one that always stresses me out just a little… the whole adding raw eggs to the dish off the heat just goes against my ingrained fear of salmonella! But given how delicious Pasta Carbonara is I’ve gotten over this quite quickly!

Plus, this is a great use of Brussels sprouts! They pair so well with the salty flavors and sautéing them was another great preparation that I’ll have to try again.

Charred Brussels Sprout Carbonara 

Adapted from Bon Appetit 

½ lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated

12 oz. Gemelli pasta

Kosher salt

¼ cup pancetta, finely chopped

½ tsp black pepper

½ stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

⅓ cup grated Pecorino plus more

2 large egg yolks, beaten to blend

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add Brussels sprout leaves and cook, tossing occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside. Wipe out skillet.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Charred Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring often, until slightly crisp, about 4 minutes. Add 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. Gradually add butter, swirling skillet and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until a thick, glossy sauce forms.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Charred Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

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.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Charred Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

Serve pasta topped with more Pecorino.

Breakfast in Bed(stuy) / Charred Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

Charred Brussels Sprouts Carbonara
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ½ lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated
  • 12 oz. Gemelli pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup pancetta, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ⅓ cup grated Pecorino plus more
  • 2 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add Brussels sprout leaves and cook, tossing occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside. Wipe out skillet.
  2. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring often, until slightly crisp, about 4 minutes. Add 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. Gradually add butter, swirling skillet and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until a thick, glossy sauce forms.
  4. 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.
  5. Serve pasta topped with more Pecorino.
 

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