strozzapreti carbonara with charred brussels sprouts

September 23, 2013 § 54 Comments

Spaghetti carbonara is one of my favorite pasta dishes.  I love the flavors of bacon, egg and grana padano cheese combined with a good quality spaghetti.  Also, having “breakfast for dinner” in spaghetti form is always a pleasure.  This is a nice spin on the basic carbonara.  The brussels sprout leaves are cooked until crispy and charred before tossing in the pasta.

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This recipe was featured in the latest issue of Bon Appétit.  It was stated “the key to this dish is getting a good char on the brussels sprouts, which helps balance the richness of the porky, eggy sauce.  Salt draws moisture out of the leaves, which might make them soggy, so do not season them” (while charring in the skillet).

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I found by removing the outer leaves first then carving out the core a little I was able to easily separate most of the leaves from each sprout.

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Using a good quality pasta will made a difference in the outcome of your recipe.

I n g r e d i e n t s

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated
  • 12 ounces good quality strozzapreti or small pasta
  • 2 ounces of guanicale (salt-cured pork jowl) or pancetta, finely chopped
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup Pecorino, plus more for serving
  • 2 large egg yolks, beaten to blend

M e t h o d

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive 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.

Cook pasta in a large pot until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat.  Add guanciale or pancetta and cook, stirring often, until slightly crisp, about 4 minutes.  Add pepper and cook, stirring until fragrant.  Immediately add 1/2 cup pasta water, reduce heat to low and gradually add butter, swirling skillet and adding more pasta water as needed, until a tick glossy sauce forms.

Add pasta to skillet and toss to coat.  Add Pecorino, toss to combine.  Remove from heat, mix in egg yolks.  Add brussels sprouts leaves and toss.  You may need to add a little more pasta water to thin sauce.  Serve pasta with more Pecorino.

Serves 4.

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