My desk is somewhat of an archeological dig. There are layers and layers of things that I have every intention of addressing at some point. Last night a pile was dislodged and a page ripped from a magazine floated down to my feet. As I picked it up, I realized I held the solution for dinner in my hands. And there was the added bonus that I was sufficiently distracted by my discovery that I completely forgot whatever I was digging for in the first place. Who says a messy desk is a bad thing?
At first I thought these ingredients sounded like a strange combination, but the flavors work together perfectly and it’s incredibly flavorful. My daughter is still talking about how good it was! For a vegetarian option, just eliminate the bacon.
Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Breadcrumbs & Bacon
(adapted from Cooking Light)
8 ounces rigatoni pasta (or whatever shape you like)
4-5 strips bacon (optional, leave out for a vegetarian meal)
2 tsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup panko
12 oz. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced lengthwise into 3 or 4 slices each
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
2/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 – 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 ounces fresh parmesan cheese, coarsely grated or shaved
2 tsp. pine nuts, toasted
Cook pasta until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Keep warm.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add panko to pan. Cook 3 minutes until browned, stirring frequently. Set aside. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Discard bacon grease. (I usually keep about a tablespoon in there to cook with but if you want to be a little healthier, or if you aren’t using the bacon, wipe out grease and use olive oil instead).
Add Brussels sprouts to pan. Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add onion and garlic and continue to cook 3 more minutes or until onion is tender. and the Brussels sprouts are lightly browned. Add broth, lemon rind, lemon juice, thyme leaves, salt & pepper. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until sprouts are crisp-tender. Add mixture. to pasta and toss well. Sprinkle with cheese, pine nuts, breadcrumbs and crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.