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Rotini with Brussels Sprouts, Blue Cheese, and Bacon Recipe


Rotini with Brussels Sprouts, Blue Cheese, and Bacon Recipe

For a streamlined pasta recipe featuring tangy, piquant blue cheese, we decided to add nutty, slightly bitter Brussels sprouts and rich-tasting pine nuts to the mix. Rather than halve our Brussels sprouts, we opted to thinly slice them; this way, they were evenly distributed through­out the dish. We used the fat rendered from the bacon to saute our sprouts, eliminating the need for oil. Adding the crispy pieces of bacon back to the skillet near the end of cooking ensured the perfect amount of crunch and smokiness. Small, firm Brussels sprouts (about 1 inch in diameter) work best here. Slicing the Brussels sprouts in a food processor can help cut down their prep time.

Chop bacon and cook in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat left in skillet.

Trim and thinly slice Brussels sprouts. Add sprouts, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to skillet and cook over medium-high heat until sprouts begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream, cover, and simmer until sprouts are tender, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in blue cheese.

Meanwhile, toast pine nuts (see page 137); set aside. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot. Add sprouts mixture and bacon and toss to combine. Adjust consistency with reserved cooking water as needed and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle individual portions with pine nuts before serving.

You could slice the Brussels sprouts for this recipe by hand, but we like to use a food processor fitted with the slicing disk. First, trim the stem ends from the Brussels sprouts. Then, working in batches, fill the feed tube with sprouts and press them through with the feed tube plunger.

Brussel Sprouts for Rotini with Brussels Sprouts, Blue Cheese, and Bacon Recipe
Brussels sprouts don’t need to be saved for the holiday dinner table; this cruciferous vegetable adds complexity and nutty flavor to a variety of dishes, from salads to pastas. Brussels sprouts, which grow in clusters on long stalks, are so named because they originated in Belgium. We’ve found that smaller sprouts can be more tender and sweet than larger sprouts (more than an inch across), which can be bitter. Before cooking, be sure to trim the stem ends and remove any discolored leaves.

Rotini with Brussels Sprouts, Blue Cheese, and Bacon Recipe Serves 4 TO 6
6 slices bacon
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
1 pound rotini

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