I realize it might seem a wee bit counter productive posting a pasta dish with cheese and bacon two days after sharing my Back on Track Green Detox Smoothie (which, I might add, is so delicious that it’s bridging generational gaps,) but HOLY COW this recipe is too good to hold onto for another minute. Bacon and Brussels Sprout Spaghetti Carbonara is rocking my world!
I have no idea why it’s taken me nearly four years to post a recipe for a dish I remember eating so vividly during Ben’s and my trip to Italy over four years ago (great Scott, where has the time gone?) But, after Ben made a delicious Cacio e Pepe, pasta with cheese and black pepper, for dinner the other night I was reminded of one of the best meals we had on our trip.
I remember that lunch like it was yesterday. It was a sweltering September afternoon in Rome when Ben and I stopped at an adorable trattoria on a stone street in a bustling, narrow alleyway somewhere between the Spanish Steps, Pantheon, and Trevi Fountain. Frankly we had no clue where we were but decided to figure it out after splitting a carafe of vino de la casa and a couple plates of pasta. Looking around after we cheers’d to a successful morning of sightseeing I honestly wondered if we had stumbled onto a movie set. The setting was so perfect it was surreal.
That’s Italy for you. Pictures don’t do it justice!
Our plates came out quickly and our forks hit the food before the waiter left. The portions were small, as Italian restaurants serve pasta as a first course, but it was truly better than any pasta we’d ever had and I still remember how Ben so dramatically described his order, Spaghetti alla Carbonara – humbling. I laughed but he was right. It was absolutely incredible! Even more incredible is how simple it was. Pasta, bacon, garlic, eggs, pepper, cheese. Like I always say, the simplest meals, made with great ingredients, always tastes the best. Being in Italy didn’t hurt.
Feeling inspired, I decided to recreate the dish Ben ordered at that trattoria in Italy, and give it a winter spin with the addition of caramelized brussels sprouts and shallots. I feel like spaghetti carbonara as we know it should be rewritten to always include this delectable combo!
Gluten-free spaghetti, crisp bacon, and caramelized shallots and sliced brussels sprouts are lightly coated in a rich and creamy sauce made from eggs, salt, pepper, and freshly shredded parmesan cheese. Thaaaaz it.
This Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Spaghetti Carbonara is simple. Scrumptious. Craveable. A must try! I will be making it allll the time now that I know how simple it is to make with fridge and pantry staples. Saute the bacon followed by the shallots and brussels sprouts, then toss with cooked pasta and eggs whisked with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Season with loads of coarse black pepper then face plant. Just do it.
Start by whisking 2 eggs with salt and lots of coarsely cracked black pepper until smooth then whisk in 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese. This is essentially the sauce for the dish so don’t skimp on the salt, and especially the pepper. I have a pepper grinder at home for regular, everyday cooking but still keep a jar of coarsely ground black pepper on hand for recipes like this. I still remember how big the ground peppercorns were in those pasta dishes Ben and I enjoyed in Rome!
Set the eggs and cheese aside then trim 12oz brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts and I are pretty much like this and I eat them as often as possible in the fall and winter time when they’re literally piled into giant sprout mountains on the produce end caps at the grocery store. Now that’s one mountain I wouldn’t mind climbing.
Did I ever tell you I made it like 20 minutes into a hike up Mt Fuji, as in the ACTUAL MOUNT FUJI in Japan, before throwing in the towel and bailing to go find some Yoshinoya, or something, when I lived there for a summer in college? BONK. (Not that I would have made it to the top, but you know what I mean.)
Anyway, after trimming the end off of each sprout, remove any loose outer leaves then send them through a food processor fitted with the slicing disc (here’s the food processor I have >) Alternatively you could slice each sprout with a sharp knife or use a mandolin to slice them.
Some grocery stores sell pre-shredded brussels sprouts, which are awfully convenient. If you can get your hands on a pack, you’ll need 8oz shredded brussels sprouts, which is the weight after trimming 12oz whole brussels sprouts.
Alrighty, time to get cookin’! First crisp 4 slices chopped bacon in a large 10-12″ skillet then remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, leaving the excess bacon grease in the skillet. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to the skillet to equal 2 Tablespoons fat total.
Add the shredded brussels sprouts along with 1 large sliced shallot or 1/2 small sliced onion then season with salt and pepper, turn the heat up slightly, and then saute until the sprouts are deeply caramelized and tender, 8-10 minutes. Next add 2 cloves minced garlic then saute for 1 more minute.
Stir the cooked bacon back in then remove the skillet from the heat.
Meanwhile, cook 8oz gluten-free or regular spaghetti in a big pot of salted, boiling water. I started heating the water when I was crisping my bacon, then dropped the pasta in when I added the brussels sprouts and shallots to the skillet. As far as gluten-free pasta goes, Barilla is my ride or die. I can’t tell a single difference in the spaghetti version!
Once the spaghetti is al dente, use tongs to transfer it over to the skillet with the brussels sprouts mixture (again, which should be off the heat.) Add the whisked egg and cheese mixture then start stirring and tossing the pasta until it’s evenly coated. Ladle in some of the pasta cooking water to get the sauce to the creamy consistency you desire, and don’t worry about the raw eggs as the heat from the pasta, pasta water, and brussels sprouts will cook it through.
Just want to emphasize one more time that the skillet should be off the heat so you get a silky, creamy egg sauce, and not scrambled eggs!
Swirl the spaghetti carbonara onto plates, top with more freshly grated parmesan cheese, if you please, then devour!
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Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Spaghetti Carbonara
Gluten-free Bacon and Brussels Sprouts Spaghetti Carbonara is a ridiculously delicious, gluten-free pasta recipe made from fridge and pantry staples. Take a trip to Italy tonight!
- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 2 eggs
- salt and coarsely ground black pepper
- 8ooz gluten-free or regular spaghetti
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot or 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
- 12oz brussels sprouts, trimmed OR 8oz pre-shedded brussels sprouts
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Whisk eggs in a bowl with salt and lots of pepper then whisk in parmesan cheese and set aside.
- Send trimmed brussels sprouts through a food processor fitted with a slicing blade, thinly slice with a knife, or slice with a mandolin.
- Brown chopped bacon in a large skillet, 10-12", over medium heat then remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, leaving bacon grease in skillet. Add enough extra virgin olive oil to the skillet to equal 2 Tablespoons fat total then add shallots and brussels sprouts, and season with salt and pepper. Turn heat up just slightly then saute until brussels sprouts are tender and caramelized, 8-10 minutes. Add minced garlic then saute for one more minute. Add cooked bacon back into the skillet then stir to combine and remove skillet from heat.
- Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a large pot of salted, boiling water until al dente (add to the boiling water when you start sauteing the brussels sprouts and shallots.) Using tongs, transfer the cooked pasta to the brussels sprouts mixture in the skillet then add the egg/parmesan cheese mixture and start stirring with tongs to evenly coat the pasta, adding a little bit of pasta cooking water at a time to make the sauce smooth. Transfer pasta to plates then serve topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Not that I would know – ok I totally know – but leftover Bacon and Brussels Sprout Spaghetti Carbonara is even dynamite eaten straight from the fridge. Hot, cold, here, there – who cares – make this dish!