Meat | Pasta

Orecchiette carbonara with charred Brussel sprouts

November 3, 2013

Lovely and soothing with the nutty flavor of the charred Brussel sprouts.

1/2 lb Brussel sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated
12 oz fresh or dried orecchiette, or other fresh or dried small pasta
Kosher salt
2 oz pancetta (Italian bacon) finely chopped  (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup grated pecorino plus more
2 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
2 tbsp olive oil, divided

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add the brussel sprouts and cook, tossing occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp tender, about 5 minutes or so ; transfer to a plate and set aside. Wipe out the skillet.
* You can also toss the Brussel sprouts in a little olive oil, season and roast them on a shallow baking tray at 400 F for 15 minutes or so until they are tender and charred.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente (about 5 mins for fresh pasta). Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring often, until slightly crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Immediately add 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid to keep the pepper from burning; reduce the heat to low and gradually add the butter, swirling the skillet and adding more pasta liquid as needed, until a thick glossy sauce forms.
(Taste as you go and switch to hot water once the sauce is adequately seasoned)

Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to coat.
Add the pecorino, toss to combine.
Remove from the heat, mix in the egg yolks. Add the reserved Brussel sprouts leaves, toss, adding pasta cooking liquid or hot water as needed to thin the sauce.

Serve the pasta topped with more Pecorino