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
4 to 6
1 1/2 pounds
brussels sprouts, stemmed and quartered
salt, and more to taste
1 1/2 cups
Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
Place a large pot of salted water on high heat to boil for cooking the pasta.
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!
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.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs and 1 cup of grated Pecorino Romano with a few cracks of fresh black pepper. Set aside.
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.
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.
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!
Once the pasta is coated in creamy sauce, sprinkle the additional Romano over the top with more black pepper to taste. Serve hot!