“While Christmas might be the thing that occupies most people’s minds when December rolls around, I find myself preoccupied by the overflowing shelves of Brussels sprouts. It might be a bit of a marmite vegetable, but for the lovers it’s ridiculously versatile, adding a delightfully bitter-sweet crunch to any plate it graces. For me, a salty, creamy carbonara is the perfect pairing for this unfairly maligned vegetable.”
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
100g Parmesan, grated
200g cubed pancetta
200g Brussels sprouts, thickly sliced
3 egg yolks
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Separate the eggs putting the whites aside for use in another recipe (egg white freezes well). Put the egg yolks into a bowl and season well with a generous amount of black pepper. Add most of the Parmesan and 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, then mix well with a fork until you have a thick, yellow paste.
Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of salted boiling water. Use just enough water to cover the spaghetti. This will make the cooking water extra starchy – we’ll need this later.
While the spaghetti is cooking, add a tbsp of rapeseed oil to a pan put onto a medium-high heat. Crush the garlic cloves with the flat of a broad knife and add them to the oil to infuse for 1 minute. Add the pancetta and fry until the edges begin to brown. Next, throw in the sprouts and continue to cook for 5 minutes so that the pancetta turns crispy and the sprouts begin to caramelise. Discard the large pieces for garlic and remove the pan from the heat.
Drain the spaghetti when it’s al dente and reserve some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the pan and mix into the garlicky sprouts and pancetta with a pair of wooden spoons. Dollop the egg and Parmesan mix into the pan and stir well. The eggs should thicken the sauce but not become scrambled. Add a little of the spaghetti water to the pan to loosen the sauce and season to taste.
Serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan and a good crack of black pepper.