Orecchiette Carbonara with Charred Brussels Sprouts
After making my first disappointing Barefoot Contessa dish on Saturday, I was very happy to make a super tasty dinner tonight! The recipe is a variation on a carbonara with the delicious addition of Brussels sprouts and lots of Pecorino.
Not many notes on this recipe. I was able to buy some guanciale (un-smoked Italian bacon usually prepared with pig’s cheeks) at Dickson’s Farmstand, an amazing butcher in Chelsea Market. I’m sure the recipe would be great with pancetta as well. I only needed about 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. I aslo added a pinch of kosher salt when I mixed in the Brussels sprouts.
Tim and both cleared our plates (and then some).
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated
- 12 ounces orecchiette or other fresh or dried small pasta
- Kosher salt
- 2 ounces guanciale (salt-cured pork jowl) or pancetta (Italian bacon), finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/3 cup grated Pecorino plus more
- 2 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add Brussels sprout leaves and cook, tossing occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside. Wipe out skillet.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente (about 5 minutes for fresh pasta). Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add guanciale and cook, stirring often, until slightly crisp, about 4 minutes. Add pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Immediately add 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to keep pepper from burning; reduce heat to low and gradually add butter, swirling skillet and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until a thick, glossy sauce forms. (Taste as you go and switch to hot water once sauce is adequately seasoned.)
Add pasta to skillet and toss to coat. Add Pecorino; toss to combine. Remove from heat; mix in egg yolks. Add reserved Brussels sprout leaves; toss, adding pasta cooking liquid (or hot water) as needed to thin sauce.
Serve pasta topped with more Pecorino.