Here is a really quick, tasty dinner that you can serve with a crisp green salad. It takes just a few more minutes than it would to boil a pan of pasta.
Having overindulged during the holidays you may be struggling to think about what to cook for dinner this week. I know I’m really lacking inspiration… and I love cooking. But very soon we will all be back in the school/work routine and will be scrambling to get something tasty and tempting on the table.
This pasta dish features that humble winter staple: brussels sprouts. Boiled brussels have traumatized many a small child (and let’s face it, quite a few grown-ups) for decades, but don’t be afraid: here’s a simple way to prepare them with a flavor that trumps boiling every time. Simply slicing and frying them with bacon gives them a whole new flavor and texture. This, plus the addition of cheese completely elevates this dish into something simple but spectacular.
Ingredients – makes enough for 4
- 12 oz penne pasta
- 6 oz bacon – about 6 slices cut into ¾ “ pieces
- Up to 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- ½ onion sliced finely or 4 large shallots, cut into thin rounds
- 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Then add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and keep ½ cup cooking liquid.
When the pasta is cooking heat a dry skillet over a medium heat. Add bacon, stirring occasionally until crisp about 5 minutes. Remove bacon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to dry.
Add the garlic, shallots and sprouts. Cook for about 3 minutes until golden. Add the stock and taste and season with salt and pepper. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed and sprouts are tender, about 10-12 minutes.
Add the sprout mixture to the pasta as well as the reserved cooking liquid and cheese. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil and add bacon. Toss until combined and serve with cheese.