Brussels Sprout and Pancetta Weekend

Thanks to our friend Kevin, it has been a Brussels sprout and Pancetta weekend. The Pancetta because of Kevin, the Brussels sprouts because my husband and I thought those would be best for delicious accompaniment to said Pancetta. My husband messaged me on Friday saying he was bringing a surprise home - a wheel of meat! Made by Kevin. I love trying new recipes and often Google "item one and item two recipe," based on what I have in my refrigerator/cupboards. So yesterday it was "Brussels sprouts and pancetta recipe." These are what I came up with:    

Penne with Brussel Sprouts and Pancetta 
My husband said it was the best thing I made so far this year! The homemade Pancetta was the killer and the jalapeño's  added the perfect amount of kick. I have made dishes with Pancetta before that were good, but with the homemade Pancetta, this was fantastic. 

16 oz penne
2 Tbs olive oil, more for drizzling
6 ounces pancetta, diced
2 large rosemary sprigs (I used dried rosemary, about 1 Tbs)
1 head of garlic (about 12 cloves), smashed and peeled
2 jalapeño or Serrano chile, thinly sliced (or substitute 1 large pinch crushed red pepper flakes)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons butter
1 lemon juiced
Freshly grated pecorino cheese (I used Parmesan)
1. Bring large pot water to a boil. Add the penne and cook until pasta is just al dente (do not overcook).

2. Heat large sauté pan over high heat and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add pancetta and rosemary and sauté until the fat on the pancetta starts to turn translucent, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, jalapeno and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and sauté until garlic and pancetta turn richly brown, about 3 minutes (I think with the homemade panchetta it took more like 5). Add the brussels sprouts, a large pinch of salt and a splash of water to pan (I used pasta water), and sauté until sprouts just start to soften, about 2 minutes. Spread sprouts mixture in pan and press down to flatten. Let it sear for a minute, then stir it up and repeat. This helps brown the sprouts. Add the butter, and sauté for another minute.

3. Drain penne and add it to pan with brussels sprouts mixture. Cook, tossing, until everything is well mixed. I whisked the lemon juice from 1 lemon and about a tablespoon of olive oil and poured it over everything and mixed, plated, and topped with grated Parmesan cheese. Here's the finished product: 

Then for dinner tonight I made these beauties, served on the side of pulled pork sandwiches, from pork my husband had smoked a couple of weeks ago:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 lb. sliced pancetta, diced
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
8 baby Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 lemon, juiced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat oil over medium heat in a roasting pan or large skillet. Add the pancetta and cook until golden brown and crisp. Remove the pancetta to a plate. Add the shallots to the pan and cook until soft. Add the Brussels sprouts and potatoes and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven until the vegetables are cooked through and golden brown. Remove the vegetables from the oven and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Transfer to a platter and top with the reserved pancetta.

Both dishes were a success! I am still learning about the chemistry of cooking, but lemon juice and Brussels sprouts are fast friends. And yes, while they are very healthy, Brussels sprouts cause... *ahem* exhaust. But short of never eating again it is a risk I am willing to take. (One of the first family legends I heard when dating my husband was how his brother cleared out the Empire State Building after dinner one night. True story. But I nearly cleared out a subway car the first time we visited him in New York, so I guess it runs in the family.) 

Happy eating! 


  1. This looks amazing. Well done! Thanks so much for sharing...including the stories at the end. Literally laughed out loud. :)


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