Farfalle with Brussels sprouts and pancetta is a wonderful way to use Brussels sprouts when they are in season and a really easy and quick meal. What is not to like about pasta with Brussels sprouts and Italian bacon!
About this Brussels sprouts pasta:
This recipe uses farfalle which is a bow tie shaped pasta. I like this because it picks up the olive oil in the sauce well. You can also use penne or another larger shape pasta.
This pasta comes together very quickly so most of your time will be searing your Brussels sprouts and crisping up the pancetta.
The sauce for this Brussels sprouts pasta is going to be an olive oil sauce that is thinned with pasta water. Olive oil sauce is what most of my pasta recipes are made with and a classic way that Italians make their sauces.
It picks up all of the flavor from the pan and is so good.
- Brussels sprouts
- Farfalle pasta (or another pasta shape).
- Pancetta (or bacon)
- Olive oil
- Crushed red pepper flakes.
Notes about the ingredients:
- Pancetta: You can find this either near or at the deli area of your grocery store. Some stores sells the pancetta already cubed in a package. You can also order a thick slice of pancetta (about ½ inch thick) from the deli counter and dice it up yourself.
- Brussels sprouts: try to buy whole Brussels sprouts if you can. The prepared ones they sell in the stores have the tough stems mixed into the bag and that is not tasty.
- Pasta: Farfalle is used in this recipe but penne or rigatoni work great as well.
Substitutes for the pancetta:
You can brown up sausage or regular bacon in place of the pancetta to achieve that same meaty flavor.
Swap out vinegar for the lemon:
The acid component is important in this recipe because it brightens up the flavors. If you do not have lemon you can substitute balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar to achieve the same result.
Cooking the Brussels sprouts:
The delicious flavor you get in this recipe comes from searing the Brussels sprouts on a hot pan. Try to give them time without flipping or stirring them to get nice and brown. You will be rewarded with delicious browned Brussels sprouts if you have patience.
More Pasta Recipes with Vegetables:
- Pasta with Chickpeas Spinach and Lemon
- Spaghetti with Pancetta and Mushrooms
- Pasta with Broccoli and Truffle Cream Sauce
- Pasta Genovese
Farfalle with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta
- 1 pint or bag of Brussels sprouts whole cleaned and stems removed then cut in halves.
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon
- 1 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste and for pasta water
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lb Farfalle pasta
- 4 ounces pancetta or bacon diced
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta.
- In a large heavy bottom sauté pan, heat your olive oil on medium heat.
- Once the sauté pan is heated, add your Brussels sprouts to the pan making sure they are not overlapping and that they are all touching the pan.
- You are going to be browning them and getting a nice caramelized outside.
- Cook them without touching them for about 4 minutes. You will hear some pops and discussion coming from the pan and that is ok!
- After 4 minutes toss them around with a spatula and you should start to see the nice browning happening. Press them all back down in the pan after tossing so they do not overlap and Cook for another couple minutes.
- Once the Brussels sprouts are nice and browned, remove them from the pan and place on to a plate and set aside.
- Add 1 tbsp of olive oil into your pan that you were just using.
- Add your pancetta and red pepper flakes and cook until crisp, stirring often. About 5 minutes.
- Once pancetta is crisp, add your Brussels sprouts back into the pan with the pancetta.
- Add your salt and the juice of your lemon and toss.
- Reduce heat to low.
- Once the pasta water is boiling add a good pinch of salt and your pasta.
- Cook according to the manufacturers instructions for al dente.
- Once pasta is cooked, scoop out a mug full of pasta water and set aside and then drain your pasta.
- Add your pasta to the Brussels sprouts mixture and toss.
- Add half of your pasta water to the pasta and Brussels sprouts and mix well.
- Cook the pasta with the Brussels sprouts for 2 minutes, tossing the pasta while it cooks.
- If it looks dry, add a little more pasta water and toss together.
- Taste and add any additional salt and pepper and enjoy!