One more burst of Brussel sprouts in this carbonara, then winter must surely be over?

They say you should wait for the first frost before you eat sprouts.  Sounds like an old wives tale doesn't it? There is truth in this particular 'rule'.  The freezing temperatures forces the little sprouts to turn their carbohydrates into sugar, so giving a better taste.  Don't ask me to explain the science of it.  Someone much more qualified needs to do that.

Anway, it's pretty obvious that we have had our first frost.  Hopefully, we are heading for our last!  Before the season is over, I just wanted to have one more burst of Brussels - so here it is, a creamy (but of course with no cream) carbonara style dish.BrusselsPastaPlate

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients for 4 Servings

250gr / 0.5 lb. (dry weight) of good quality fettuccini pasta.
550gr / 1.2 lb. brussel sprouts, cleaned and chopped quite finely, but not too small.
2 x shallots chopped finely
2 x large cloves of garlic chopped finely
150gr / 5 oz. smoked bacon chopped into small pieces
2 x eggs, beaten just enough to bring them together, then set them aside

Lots of freshly ground black pepper
75gr / 2.5 oz. finely grated parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
2 x tbsp of olive oil



  1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan.  When it reaches a medium high heat, add the shallots and garlic and sauté for a minute.
  2. Add the sprouts, cook until they are browned and become a little softer ( not too soft though, you don’t want them to be mushy, but to retain a little bite).  You can probably get going with cooking the pasta when the sprouts are nearly finished.  Just follow the instructions on the packet for timings.  The best way to cook pasta is to put it into a pan with plenty of boiling water and a good helping of salt.
  3. When the sprouts are cooked, move them to the outside area of the pan and add the bacon to the centre, allowing it to cook for a couple of minutes, turning a couple of times.
  4. When the bacon is cooked, mix it through the sprouts and give a good grind of black pepper and a little salt.  Careful with salt as the bacon and the parmesan will also add a salty flavour.
  5. When the pasta is ready, bring your two pans close together on the stove.  Then, with tongs, grab the pasta and drag is swiftly into the pan with the sprouts.  By doing this you take in some of the pasta water.  This water helps bind and create your sauce.  You don’t need  much, in this case probably about 2 tablespoons worth.  This dragging technique should ensure that you have enough.
  6. Turn the heat off under your sprouts and pasta.  Add the egg (not directly on to the base of the pan but onto the pasta mixture) add the parmesan.  Stir through quite quickly, this will create a creamy style sauce.
  7. Check for seasoning, and serve immediately with some extra parmesan sprinkled over the top if you wish.



Tips and Variations

  • This works well with all sorts of pasta.  The only type that doesn’t work so well for a carbonara style dish is whole meal or gluten free varieties.  These pastas seem to lack the starchy constituent that gives your sauce that creamy texture.
  • Try using pecorino cheese instead of parmesan




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