If you’re a lover of pasta, garlic, bacon, or all three, our recipe for Orecchiette with Brussels Sprouts and Bacon is a great dish to add to your collection.
Orecchiette means “little ears” in Italian and its unique shape makes it the perfect cut of pasta to blend with this garlicky mix of caramelized Brussels sprouts and crisp bacon.
To make this dish we fried some bacon, then sautéed onion, garlic and shredded Brussels sprouts in a little of the bacon fat combined with extra-virgin olive oil. Once the sprouts are lightly caramelized we add a splash of balsamic vinegar for extra flavor and mix in the pasta.
Some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese makes a fabulous finishing touch for this simple dish, and all you need to round out a great meal is a salad and a glass of dry Riesling or a pale lager.
More Easy Pasta Recipes To Try
Want to learn more about different shapes of pasta and what to use them for? Check out Types of Pasta Shapes: The Ultimate Guide over at NonnaBox.
Orecchiette With Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
- 1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts
- 8 ounces orecchiette pasta
- 8 slices bacon cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Olive oil
- 1 cup onion, preferably sweet, chopped
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Trim the ends and outer leaves from the brussels sprouts, then rinse them and pat dry with paper towels.
- Process the sprouts using the shredding disk of your food processor or cut them into very thin slices by hand and separate them into shreds. Set aside.
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
- Fry the bacon until crisp, then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan.
- Put the pan back on the stove over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until it’s soft and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Start adding the Brussels sprouts, a handful a time, letting each addition wilt slightly before adding more. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook, stirring often, until the Brussels sprouts are tender and just beginning to caramelize, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Drizzle the sprouts with the vinegar and add the reserved bacon and a bit more olive oil if desired. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, then reduce the heat to low to keep warm.
- Cook and drain the pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
- Return the pasta to the pot, add the Brussels sprouts and toss to combine. Stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the cooking liquid, then add the cheese and combine once again.
- Serve immediately and pass extra cheese at the table if desired.
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