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Pasta with Smoky Bacon, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Leeks and Parmesan

Jessica Gordon Ryan/The Entertaining House (Taken with iPhone 4S) 

Jessica Gordon Ryan/The Entertaining House (Taken with iPhone 4S) 

I made a veggie dish a few weeks ago. It was fantastic (if I may say so myself.) I made little pots of sauteed shaved brussels sprouts and baked them with Parmesan to crispy golden brown-gooey perfection. The recipe is here. I loved the flavors so much that I wanted to somehow incorporate them with some pasta - I knew I'd need to add some more complex flavors.

I thought the smokiness of a really crispy bacon or pancetta would accent the parmesan and Brussel sprouts perfectly. I decided to saute some sliced leeks with the Brussels sprouts for more depth. What resulted was a pasta dish that was not at all heavy, but creamy and nutty from the Parmesan, smoky from the bacon, with a caramelized sweetness from the greens. As Brussels sprouts are available almost year round, with their peak season from September to February, and leeks in season October through May, peaking in January, this is a perfect meal for those who prefer to cook with seasonal vegetables. And bacon, as we all know, is always in season! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package thick cut bacon, thoroughly cooked, as crispy as possible
  • 2 packages shaved Brussels sprouts, approximately 2 cups
  • 1 cup of washed, trimmed and sliced leeks
  • 1/2 cup, or to taste, freshly shredded Parmesan
  • 1 box of pasta, any shape you prefer 
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Cook bacon - Here you want to get each slice as crispy as possible. When the bacon is done set aside on a plate covered with a paper towel to absorb the extra grease. They will continue to harden. 
  • In a large saute pan, drizzle 1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Turn heat to high. When the pan heats, turn heat down to medium high, add the Brussels sprouts and leeks and saute until golden brown, stirring frequently so that all the vegetables can caramelize. Taste the veggies and add sea salt to taste. about 1 tsp. When caramelized you can keep them warm on a low heat.
  • Cook pasta per directions on box.
  • When pasta is done, drain well and return to the pot they were cooked in. Add the veggies, the and the Parmesan and mix well.
  • Crumble the bacon into small to medium sized pieces and toss into pasta mixture. Add pepper to taste. 

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