Brussels Sprouts Gratin

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We eat a lot of Brussels sprouts in our house, and luckily they are now available in most grocery stores here in Italy from late summer on through spring. Although my favorite way to prepare sprouts is to usually oven roast them, sometimes with sausage like my Sprouts With Sausage, and sometimes with pancetta, I do get tired of eating the same thing week after week. I recently decided to create a Brussels sprouts gratin which was decadent, creamy, and delicious. The heavy cream lightly coats the tender sprouts and the dish is encased with a crunchy, crisp, golden brown topping. The contrast between the two textures is wonderful.

This is a great side dish option for entertaining as the dish can be completely assembled ahead of time apart from the last 15 minutes of baking and refrigerated. If you choose to do this, take the dish out of the refrigerator at least an hour before you need to bake it so it can return to room temperature. I must say that as much as we enjoyed the sprouts prepared in this manner,  I would probably save this recipe for entertaining, or for a special holiday meal. We try to eat light and healthy on an everyday basis, and this dish is a tad rich. I will however, be making these sprouts again for special occasions at my house and think even children would enjoy eating sprouts prepared this way. I have already started to think about my Thanksgiving menu, and these sprouts will be on my holiday table!

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2014

Brussels Sprout Gratin

Ingredients:

  • 2 Pounds Brussels Sprouts
  • 4 Ounces Pancetta, Cut Into Small Dice
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream

Topping:

  • 1 Cup Homemade Breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 Cup Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (Or Parmesan)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 3 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Cut off the stem end of the sprouts, and remove and damaged outer leaves.
  3. Cut the sprouts in half and place in a bowl along with the pancetta, oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Toss to coat everything with the oil, then arrange evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sprouts are almost tender but still have some resistance when pierced with a fork. (Think “al dente”)
  6. While the sprouts are roasting, toss the topping ingredients together in a small bowl, rubbing in the oil with your fingertips.
  7. Place the sprouts in an oven-proof casserole dish, and pour the cream over top.
  8. Use a spoon to coat all the sprouts with the cream, then sprinkle on the topping.
  9. Bake the sprouts for an additional 15 minutes, or until the cream is bubbly and the topping is golden brown.
  10. Serve warm!