Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
Published Jan 03, 2024
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This quick, lemony, flavor-packed pasta uses shredded Brussels sprouts, savory pancetta, and toasted pine nuts for crunch.
Brussels sprouts and pasta come together to make a simple dinner that includes a heaping portion of veggies and will satisfy even the Brussels sprouts-dubious. Shredded Brussels sprouts cook incredibly fast in a buttery, creamy sauce that gets a boost of flavor from crispy pancetta.
How To Make Brussels Sprouts Pasta
- Shred the Brussels sprouts, unless you bought pre-shredded Brussels sprouts (which I highly recommend – they’re a big time-saver!).
- Boil the pasta according to package directions.
- Saute the pancetta until crisp and then add the pine nuts, Brussels sprouts, and garlic. Keep cooking until everything is golden, tender, and delicious.
- Stir everything together with lemon juice and parmesan cheese.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts Pasta
- Brussels Sprouts – Definitely grab the pre-shredded Brussels sprouts if you can find them. If not, just shred whole sprouts with the shredding attachment on a food processor.
- Pancetta – I love pre-diced pancetta for rich savory flavor, but bacon works well too.
- Pasta – Use your favorite shape, but I love pipe rigate or shells because pine nuts get caught in them and you get more of that great pine nut crunch in every bite.
- Olive Oil and Butter – For cooking and flavoring the Brussels sprouts.
- Parmesan Cheese – Don’t skip this – it’s what will create the “sauce” for the pasta. You’ll get the best results if you shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese can sometimes contain additives that will prevent it from melting and turning creamy.
- Garlic, Lemon Juice, Salt and Pepper – You’ll need these to add flavor to the pasta.
- Grab pre-shredded Brussels sprouts. These are pretty widely available in the produce section at most grocery stores. Remove and discard any sturdy stem pieces before you add them to the pasta.
- Look for pre-diced pancetta in a container near the deli section. This is a big time-saver! If you can’t find pre-diced pancetta, sometimes they’ll do it for you at the deli counter.
- Prep everything before you start. Once the pasta is boiling, the rest of it will go fast!
- Don’t overcook the pasta. The pasta will continue cooking slightly even after you drain it, as you combine it with the other ingredients, so be sure to pull it off the heat and drain it when it’s “al dente”, tender but still has a bit of bite.
- Change the protein – Use bacon instead of pancetta. You can either chop it before cooking it or fry the bacon in the skillet and then crumble it once it cools.
- Make it vegetarian – Just skip the pancetta. Use white beans instead if you want to add some protein.
- Make it gluten-free – Use your favorite gluten-free pasta.
- Make it spicy – This recipe is great with a pinch of red pepper flakes stirred in with the Brussels sprouts
- Add an egg – I never say no to a fried egg, but it’s especially delicious on top of this pasta so that the runny yolk adds to the creamy sauce.
Absolutely. Skip the pancetta, but be sure to add some extra salt to-taste. If you want to add some extra protein, stir white beans into the pasta at the end of cooking.
The creamy sauce and mix of textures mean that this pasta is best served right after cooking. That said, the leftovers are still delicious and can be reheated in the microwave for 2 to 3 days.
Any nuts work! This dish is also great with chopped pecans or walnuts.
Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
- Food Processor
- Nonstick Skillet
- 10 ounces shredded Brussels sprouts (look for pre-shredded)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 8 ounces dried pasta (I like pipe rigate or shells because they create tiny cups for the crunchy pine nuts)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 8 ounces diced pancetta
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- juice from one lemon (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided (preferably freshly grated for the creamiest sauce)
- black pepper
- Fill a large pot with water. Season the water generously with salt. It’s especially important that you season the water well in this recipe because the salted water is going to be the primary thing that seasons the pasta. Bring the water to a boil.
- If you didn’t get pre-shredded Brussels sprouts, shred them using the shredding attachment of a food processor. Finely mince the garlic.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and olive oil and heat until the butter melts. Stir in the pancetta and cook until it turns golden and crisp. Stir in the pine nuts, Brussels sprouts, and garlic and cook everything together until the pine nuts are toasted and the Brussels sprouts are tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Squeeze the lemon juice over top.
- Stir in the pasta and 3/4 cup of the parmesan cheese until everything is evenly combined.
- Transfer the pasta to a serving plate or bowl and top it with the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and some black pepper. Serve warm.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.