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).

Orecchiette Carbonara with Charred Brussels Sprouts
Bon Appetit

  • 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.

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