It’s pasta time. Also: wooly sock time and turning-on-the-furnace time. I saw my very first bin of pumpkins at the grocery store. We discussed Thanksgiving plans at dinner tonight (and ate roasted turkey, in fact). It was dark by 8:00. I’m fine with it. Really.
I’m OK with pushing aside fragile greens in favour of beets and Brussels sprouts. I’m ready. Summer is lovely, but at some point you have to stop making the most of brilliantly warm and sunny days or you’ll never get anything done. I’ve had enough of it being too hot to sleep. Bring on the seasons.
This pasta has been on my must-make list for eons, ever since Jan posted it, because shredded Brussels sprouts with pasta? Hello, delicious. I added bacon, because it gets along with pasta and Brussels sprouts so well, making this reminiscent of a kind of Brussels sprout carbonara. The hot pan, after cooking the bacon, does a brilliant job of caramelizing the shredded sprouts into a sort of salty, bacony, easy-to-twirl-on-a-fork-with-spaghetti slaw.
I love dishes in which everything winds up in a big skillet together; in this case the hot pasta go in along with a crumble of intense, salty feta, or creamy goat cheese, which melts more quickly into everything else in the pan, and a long pour of cream. (Or not.) Either way, it’s a delicious hot mess.
Pasta with Caramelized Brussels Sprouts, Bacon and Feta
1/2 lb. spaghetti or other dry pasta
6-8 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1/4 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1/4-1/2 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions, or until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, cook the bacon in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat; once the pieces are crisp, remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the drippings in the pan.
Add the butter to the skillet, and then the Brussels sprouts. Cook them for 5-7 minutes, tossing as needed and seasoning with salt and pepper, until they are soft and starting to turn golden on the edges.
Reserve 1/4 cup of your pasta cooking water when you drain the pasta, then and add it to the skillet along with the cream. Add some of the reserved pasta water if it seems dry, and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning (this dish loves pepper) and top with feta or goat cheese, tossing once or twice to combine.
Serve immediately. Serves 4-6.