Brussels Sprouts Carbonara

When I was little and I’d ask my dad for an afternoon snack (something I did almost hourly) he would come back a few minutes later with a pile of jicama and sugar snap peas. My mom never taught me the word for “candy” so that I’d never be able to ask for it. If I saw it at the grocery store and asked what it was she’d say simply, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

I was tricked into eating healthy foods and now I like them, mostly.  But now I’m a grown up and I make my own vegetable-decisions, and if that means putting cream and sherry and bacon and parmesan cheese on my vegetables sometimes then guess what? Brussels Sprouts Carbonara is what.

I have made this dish for the past 5 Thanksgivings (side bar: YAY IT’S AUTUMN AGAIN OMFG I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!). This is not a recipe for the health-conscious or the lactose intolerant. This is a recipe for people who love life, salt and the American dream. Peep this:

fresh Brussels sprouts

defrosted peas

bacon or pancetta

fresh Parmesan

heavy cream, half and half or 2% milk


s & p

1/2 stick of butter

finely minced white onion and garlic, to taste

steam brussels sprouts until aldante. while you’re doing that brown the bacon/pancetta/onion/garlic in butter and remove from pan. in the same pan deglaze the drippings with heavy cream/milk and a large pour of sherry on low heat. use more liquid if you want more sauce, less if you want less, depending on how many b-sprouts you have. sprinkle generously with s &p. slowly add parmesan shavings and stir so the cheese melts. continue to add cheese to the cream until you’ve melted as much cheese as you can digest. grate in a little fresh nutmeg, if you happen to have it. I like the brussels sprouts to be chopped up, almost shredded, and now is when you could do that. or leave them whole for all I care. add brussels sprouts, peas, pancetta/onion/garlic mixture to the sauce and let the flavors marry on low heat for about 5 minutes, serve with a sprinkle of black pepper and fresh parm grated on top. wine. sit. eat. coma.

This preparation is traditionally made with pasta and would work with other vegetables, like broccoli, zucchini or spinach.


~ by JuliaTriplett on October 27, 2010.

2 Responses to “Brussels Sprouts Carbonara”

  1. Oh dear Julia, I’m still in far-away Nepal but can’t wait for our Thanksgiving feast. Your brussels sprouts are always the best. We could never believe that this was your favorite vegetable when you were a child. Your other favorite food was pizza with anchovies and pineapple. Wow!

  2. because of the lactose.

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