I had some Brussels sprouts left over from the holidays that needed using up but I felt like doing something other than just roasting them. I thumbed through a few cookbooks and saw a recipe in Melissa Clark’s Dinner, a fun cookbook for playing around on weeknights, that caught my eye. Penne & Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pecorino.
Trim Brussels sprouts then slice them thinly. Dice bacon and cook with rosemary, then add garlic, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Add the sprouts along with a pinch of salt and a splash of water and steam-saute. Stir in a bit of butter, then add cooked pasta. She has you serve like that, with a bit of olive oil and lemon juice and a little cheese on top.
I cooked bread crumbs and garlic and oregano in a bit of oil until browned, then mixed with grated Parmesan, sprinkled the crumbs all over the top and popped the cast iron skillet under the broiler for a few minutes.
I used more Brussels sprouts than Clark called for because I know I like a higher vegetable to pasta ratio than most recipes call for. But next time, and there will be a next time, I’d add even more, probably twice as much by weight as the pasta.
Penne with Brussels Sprouts
Toasted Bread Crumbs
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 2 Tbs grated Parmesan
Pasta and Brussels Sprouts
- 4 ounces penne pasta
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 thick slice of bacon, diced or pancetta
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes or thinly slice a jalapeno or serrano
- black pepper to taste
- 5-8 ounces Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and sliced thinly
- 1 tsp butter
- In a separate small skillet, heat the oil for the bread crumbs, then stir in the bread crumbs so they all get coated with oil. Add the oregano and keep stirring, until the bread crumbs are crispy. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese. Set aside.
Pasta and Brussels Sprouts
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Start the pasta cooking as soon as the water boils. Drain when done.
- Heat an oven-proof skillet (I like cast iron) over medium-high heat and add the oil. When it’s hot, add the bacon and rosemary and cook a minute or so, until the bacon has rendered its fat.
- Add the smashed garlic, black pepper and red pepper flakes (or sliced pepper). Saute about 3 minutes.
- Add the Sprouts, a pinch of salt and a splash of water. Cook 2 minutes, until the Sprouts start to soften.
- Press down on the Sprouts with the back of a wood spoon or spatula so they will brown well. After a minute, flip them over and smash them down again. Stir in the butter and turn off the heat.
- Turn the broiler on. Add the drained pasta to the sprouts and stir, then sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. Put the whole pan under the broiler for a minute, then serve.