Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

February 21, 2017

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: In this version of carbonara, I prefer bacon over the more traditional guanciale or pancetta because I think the smoky bacon goes better with the brussels sprouts. It’s also usually a little easier to find bacon in North American grocery stores, of course. But use whatever you prefer or have around.

Depending on where you are in the country or the world, this meal will run you between $9.50 and $11.
Leanne Brown

Serves: 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, stemmed and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, and more to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 4 pieces bacon
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Set the oven to 400° F.
  2. Place a large pot of salted water on high heat to boil for cooking the pasta.
  3. On a sheet pan, spread out the brussels sprouts. Drizzle olive oil and salt all over, then mix with clean hands to coat the brussels sprouts in the oil and salt evenly. Spread them out on the pan so every sprout is touching the pan. Roast for 15 minutes (be sure to continue with the rest of the recipe while the sprouts roast!) or until browned and tender (that is, a fork easily pierces through each piece). Some of the leaves may blacken, and those crispy leaves are delicious!
  4. While the brussels sprouts roast, cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente. This is usually about a minute less than the package suggests—or go with the shorter cooking time if it suggests a range like 10 to 12 minutes.
  5. In a bowl, whisk the eggs and 1 cup of grated Pecorino Romano with a few cracks of fresh black pepper. Set aside.
  6. Using kitchen scissors, cut the bacon into small pieces. Sauté the bacon over medium heat until the fat has rendered and it is nice and crispy. Turn off the heat.
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, ladle out a cup of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the spaghetti and add it to the bacon pan along with your brussels sprouts. Using tongs, toss it all together to coat.
  8. Whisk 1/2 cup of pasta water into the egg mixture a bit at a time, going slowly so the hot water doesn’t scramble the eggs. Once the pasta, bacon, brussels sprouts mixture has been off the heat for at least a minute, add the egg mixture to it and toss and stir vigorously to coat the noodles in creamy sauce. Keep mixing for at least a minute. If it is a bit too thick you can add more pasta water to thin it out. If some of your egg begins to scramble, don’t panic, simply keep stirring. Even a little scrambled the dish is still delicious!
  9. Once the pasta is coated in creamy sauce, sprinkle the additional Romano over the top with more black pepper to taste. Serve hot!

More Great Recipes:
Pasta|Italian|Egg|Grains|Vegetable|Brussel Sprouts|Bacon|Sheet Pan|Spring|Weeknight Cooking|Fall|Winter

Reviews (5) Questions (0)

5 Reviews

Susan S. July 15, 2017
Very tasty! I cut the recipe in half, since there were only two of us. Good thing I did, otherwise we might have polished off the entire thing! I did drain off about half of the rendered fat just to assuage any lingering guilt, and it still had plenty of yummy bacon flavor. Will certainly make this again.
 
Kathleen March 14, 2017
My family carbonara recipe is similar to this, but without the sprouts. I usually add 1/2 cup cooking sherry to the pan after the bacon cooks- I wonder if this would work well with the sprouts as well?
 
Author Comment
Leanne B. March 14, 2017
I bet it would be great!
 
Juanita March 8, 2017
This was a great recipe and my first attempt at any sort of carbonara. It was delicious and indulgent. The brussels sprouts were tasty textural addition. Next time I would probably add another couple of slices of bacon because.. why not!
 
Author Comment
Leanne B. March 8, 2017
So glad you had success with it! And yes, more bacon was never a bad idea ;)