I love a fall harvest dinner made with a star ingredient like Brussels sprouts. Once the only vegetable on my won’t-eat-foods list, the Brussels sprout has soared to the top of my favorite-food list. In the fall-winter months we seriously have them multiple times per week. I was flipping through my new Cooking Light magazine and without even reading the recipe I bookmarked the page for Cavatappi with Browned Brussels Sprouts and Buttery Breadcrumbs.
I could have sworn that the picture in the magazine had crumbled crispy bacon sprinkled over the top of this pasta dish. I even thought about adding shrimp or chicken but reasoned the bacon was all the protein we would need. I should probably read an entire recipe BEFORE I begin. If you’re one of those, let’s pinky promise that we will read complete ingredient lists and instructions before we go to the grocery store or begin cooking. Deal? So for tonight, our version of this wonderful pasta dish has been lightly adapted to include bacon…which went so nicely with the crispy panko crumbs and toasted pine nuts.
- 8 oz. uncooked cavatappi pasta
- 2 tsp. unsalted butter
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 strips bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled, reserve 1 Tbl. rendering
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 12 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- ⅔ cup vegetable broth
- ½ tsp. lemon zest
- 1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp. fresh lemony thyme leaves
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 2 oz. Parmesan cheesed, shaved (about ½ cup)
- 2 Tbl. pine nuts, toasted
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl; keep warm.
- Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat; swirl to coat. Add panko to pan; cook 3 minutes or until well browned, stirring frequently. Remove to dish.
- Wipe pan clean and add pine nuts; cook over medium heat in dry pan, stirring constantly until lightly browned. Remove to dish.
- In a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, brown bacon. Remove bacon; leave 1 Tbl. bacon rendering in pan and add 1 tsp. olive oil.
- Add Brussels sprouts to pan; cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add onion and garlic and continue cooking 3-4 minutes until onion is tender and Brussels sprouts are lightly browned.
- Add broth and next 5 ingredients (through pepper).
- Cover and cook 2 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are crisp-tender.
- Add Brussels sprout mixture to pasta and toss well.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, crumbled bacon, pine nuts, and panko.
- Serve immediately.
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