Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Pasta with Parmesan

August 13, 2010

Our local Farmer’s Market is small. We have about 20 members and an average of 5 to 8 sell on Saturdays and often only 2 or 3 on Sundays. Despite the size, it is amazing the amount of produce you can get your hands on by stopping by.

I’ve been helping out with media for the market this year and I enjoy heading out early when I can and chatting with the farmers and vendors. I have learned a lot about growing practices in Kentucky through my conversations. I usually try to help them get set up as we talk, which for me secretly means I get to go through their available produce first.

This led me to discover the small bag of Brussels sprouts one of the farmers had available on Tuesday. It was just a cup or two, and I immediately bought them as soon as I discovered the bag. I have only had Brussels sprouts on a couple occasions and have never cooked with them, but inspired by all the recipes on the web, I’ve had my eye out for some.

First of all, when you buy them from the farm, they don’t look like the ones in the supermarket. I wish I had taken a before picture, but let’s just say there was a ton of peeling off outer leaves and trimming stems involved. I ended up being very happy that my bounty included only a couple handfuls.

Once cleaned, however, they looked beautiful and I couldn’t wait to get cooking!

A few months ago I picked up a discounted pack of pastured heritage breed bacon pieces from St. Asaph farm. These are the little bits they trim off the pretty bacon. They are perfect for beans, or in this case, a pasta dish with Brussels sprouts.

I checked out a few recipes on the web and finally decided to modify the Braised Brussels Sprouts in Bacon and Shallots from White on Rice Couple. What I really needed from this recipe was the cooking method which worked out wonderfully.

I tossed the final dish with some whole wheat pasta and stirred in some freshly grated parmesan. The bacon was slightly crispy and the sprouts nice and tender. This is a dish I will be making more of as the Brussels sprouts become more available this fall!

Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Pasta with Parmesan
Modified from Braised Brussels Sprouts from White on Rice Couple

10 ounces dry whole wheat pasta
½ to ¾ cup bacon, chopped into small pieces
¼ cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups Brussels sprouts, halved if large
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup grated parmesan

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, reserving ¼ cup pasta water, and set aside. In a deep skillet add the bacon and cook over medium-high heat. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, you really want the fat to immerge in the pan.

Once bacon is browned, quickly stir in the onion, garlic and Brussels sprouts. Stir well and lower heat as necessary to avoid burning the garlic. Pour in the chicken stock and simmer on medium heat, stirring often, until the Brussels sprouts are tender about 5 more minutes.

Add the pasta to the skillet along with the reserved pasta water. Stir to incorporate all ingredients. Turn off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Serves 3, for us anyway.

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  • emily (a nutritionist eats) August 13, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Oh my. This would go over VERY well in my household. I didn’t realize brussels sprouts were in season already, either!

  • Andrea (Off Her Cork) August 14, 2010 at 9:31 am

    I love this dish and glad you went this route! Brussel sprouts are my love. Grilled is my favorite way followed very closely by roasted. They are so tender and have so much flavor that I wish more people would embrace them. I also wish more people would embrace beets but that’s another topic all together!

  • Joanne August 14, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Farmer’s market finds are the best and I love your tactic to get in there before the crowds. This pasta dish looks fantastic!

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  • OysterCulture August 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    You’re hitting all the high notes with this recipe. I love Brussels sprouts but confess I came to this conclusion a bit late in life, my early encounters were with the bitter boiled kind – blegh. Imagine my delight when I found what these beauties tasted like with a bit of respect.

  • Reeni August 15, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    How absolutely delicious Lori! My Dad is always hinting that he would like me to cook these more often. This would be a huge hit!

  • 5 Star Foodie August 17, 2010 at 9:29 am

    A terrific pasta with brussels sprouts and the addition of bacon is excellent! We are off to a new farmers market that opened recently right near us this afternoon!

  • Anna August 18, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Oh Lori, what an inspiring post, I definitely should be using my legs more. The pasta looks delicious, my hubby looooooves brussels sprouts.

  • Tangled Noodle August 23, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I recall bookmarking some recipes that replicated a raved-about brussels sprouts dish that was served at last year’s Foodbuzz Festival. I’d forgotten all about it until this post! But honestly, I’d rather start with yours – the bacon and pasta are the perfect setting for a veg that I honestly have never eaten, much less cooked, before. 😎

  • Pretty. Good. Food. September 1, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Oh man this looks delicious! I love brussel spouts!
    And your photographs are beautiful! Everything here looks great!
    I recently launched my own blog, I’d love for you to check it out and let me know what you think! 🙂 Thanks!