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.