Pasta With Brussels Sprouts & Guanciale

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I buy Brussels sprouts at least once a week during the fall and winter, and this easy pasta dish has become a family favorite. Thinly sliced Brussels sprouts are tossed in a hot pan with sautéed garlic, guanciale, and chili pepper creating a light pasta sauce. I like to toss in some fresh chopped herb just before serving such as rosemary or parsley leaves, and a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving brings the flavors together.

I recently discovered some wonderful guanciale online at Nduja Artisans because it is unavailable to me locally in stores. I love guanciale and prefer to cook with it since it is a common ingredient I use in Umbria, but feel free to substitute pancetta, or even bacon if you need to.

Brussels sprouts are another vegetable that folks seem to feel strong about, and either love them or loath them, but if prepared properly they are truly delicious. When buying sprouts, choose firm, bright green heads that show no splitting, or browning. The smaller sprouts are more tender and sweet, so bigger is not always better. To store sprouts, loosely wrap them in paper and then place them in a plastic bag. Store in the vegetable crisper for up to 3 days. The sprouts used in this recipe are sliced thinly and cooked just until they are tender crisp.

I use whole grain pasta as often as possible to create dishes with as much nutritional value as possible, and in fact I chose whole wheat spaghetti in this recipe. Any variety of short pasta such as rigatoni, penne, or fusilli will work as well as spaghetti as I have used.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2015

Brussels Sprouts & Guanciale Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Pasta Of Choice (See Notes Above)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 4 Ounces Diced Guanciale or Pancetta
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled & Thinly Sliced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
  • 3/4 Pound Brussels Sprouts, Trimmed & Thinly Sliced
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon

To Serve:

  • Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese

Directions:

  1. Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil.
  2. In a frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat, and then cook the guanciale or pancetta until lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and chili flakes and cook an additional minute or two until fragrant.
  4. Add the sliced Brussels sprouts and add 1/8 of a cup or so of water.
  5. Toss the sprouts with the other ingredients and continue to cook just until the sprouts begin to soften, about 2 minutes.
  6. Cook the pasta until it is “al dente”, then drain and reserve a small cup of the pasta water.
  7. Return the pasta to the pot along with the Brussels sprout mixture, the parsley leaves and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  8. Cook for a minute or two over high heat, tossing to mix well, until the mixture is piping hot.
  9. If the pasta seems dry, add a little of the pasta water.
  10. Serve, passing the grated cheese at the table.