Friday, September 28, 2018

Early Fall Pasta With Brussels Sprouts and Bacon

In the Ozarks, the change from Summer to Fall occurs with fits and starts. For three or four days the nights may be crisp and then you wind up sweating at mid-day by the end of the week. Try to imagine falling leaves and 85 degrees.

Regardless of the weather uncertainty, the produce available predictably changes. I welcome acorn squashes, pumpkins, the first of the new crop potatoes. Unfortunately, the variety of green vegetables begins to rapidly decrease. Suddenly we find ourselves back to truck delivered broccoli, green beans, and kale. One vegetable I begin to revisit is Brussels sprouts.

This recipe is a variation upon one I saw in the New York Times. I urge you to try it. You will want to work it into your winter rotation.


12 ounces of Bucatini
8 to 16 ounces Brussels sprouts, chiffonaded
2 shallots sliced thin (or 2 Tbs. air dried shallots)
4 or 5 baby bella mushrooms diced
4 slices thick bacon, sliced against the grain in quarter inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. Italian herbs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
salt and cracked pepper
Parmesan cheese, to garnish




 To ciffonade the Brussels sprouts, cut them in half lengthwise. Lay one half flat side down, and starting at the leaf top end, cut thin slices from the bulb. Continue until you reach the solid root end. Repeat for the other half, and so on.

Put a pasta pot of salted water to boil.

While the water reaches temperature, place the pieces of bacon in a large, cold skillet and put the skillet over a medium low burner. Cook the bacon to light brown and remove the meat from the pan. Reserve the bacon fat. 

When the water boils, drop the pasta in and cook 10 to 12 minutes until al dente
While the pasta cooks, add the mushrooms (and shallots if fresh) plus the Brussels sprouts shreds, in that order, to the hot bacon grease. Cook two minutes, then add the garlic and herbs. Season well with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, while stirring occasionally, until the Brussels sprouts wilt and soften. Add the bacon bits to the skillet and stir. Check the seasoning and add salt as necessary.

When the pasta reaches al dente, reserve a half cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the vegetables in the skillet along with the reserved pasta water. Mix well as the heats blends the flavors. Check the seasoning and adjust.

Drizzle the blended pasta with EVOO and mix. Serve to pasta bowls and garnish with shaved Parmesan or Romano.