Brussels sprouts with bacon, a popular combination, transforms this humble pasta dish into something spectacular. If you’re using larger Brussels sprouts, cut them into 6 or 8 pieces. You don’t want them to be too big next to the small ditalini. Finish this dish in the pan in which you fried the bacon for maximum flavor.
Ditalini with Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Pecorino
1 lb. (500 g) brussels sprouts, quartered
6 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./90 ml) olive oil
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
6 slices thick-cut bacon
12 oz. (375 g) ditalini
1 yellow onion, quartered and sliced
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
1⁄2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated pecorino romano cheese
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
Pile the brussels sprouts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with 4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml) of the olive oil and the vinegar and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the sprouts in a single layer and roast, stirring once about halfway through, until fork-tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Set aside.
Bring a large pot two-thirds full of salted water to a boil over high heat.
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, fry the bacon until crispy, about 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. When cool enough to handle, break the bacon into bite-sized piece.
Meanwhile, add the ditalini to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. Drain well and set aside.
Discard all but about 1 Tbs. of the bacon grease in the pan, add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, and warm over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until lightly browned and soft, about 4 minutes. Add the brussels sprouts, the pasta and the bacon and stir to combine. Stir in the chicken broth and cook until the sauce thickens just a bit, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cheese and the lemon zest. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
For this and more ideas for pasta dishes you’ll want to serve every night of the week, check out our new Pasta Night, by Kate McMillan