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Orecchiette Carbonara with Charred Brussels Sprouts

Orecchiette Carbonara with Charred Brussels Sprouts

Chef Philip Krajeck, Rolf and Daughters, Nashville, says the key to this dish is getting a good char on the brussels sprouts, which helps balance the richness of the porky, eggy sauce. Salt draws moisture out of the leaves, which might make them soggy, so he doesn’t season them.


  • ½ lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated
  • 12 oz. fresh orecchiette (see Fresh Pasta recipe) or other fresh or dried small pasta
  • 2 oz. guanciale (salt-cured pork jowl) or pancetta (Italian bacon), finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ⅓ cup grated Pecorino plus more
  • 2 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add brussels sprout leaves and cook, tossing occasionally, until charred in spots and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside. Wipe out skillet.

  • Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente (about 5 minutes for fresh pasta). Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

  • Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium heat. Add guanciale and cook, stirring often, until slightly crisp, about 4 minutes. Add pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Immediately add ½ cup pasta cooking liquid to keep pepper from burning; reduce heat to low and gradually add butter, swirling skillet and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until a thick, glossy sauce forms. (Taste as you go and switch to hot water once sauce is adequately seasoned.)

  • Add pasta to skillet and toss to coat. Add Pecorino; toss to combine. Remove from heat; mix in egg yolks. Add reserved brussels sprout leaves; toss, adding pasta cooking liquid (or hot water) as needed to thin sauce.

  • Serve pasta topped with more Pecorino.

,Photos by Christopher Testani

Nutritional Content

Calories (kcal) 620 Fat (g) 30 Saturated Fat (g) 13 Cholesterol (mg) 150 Carbohydrates (g) 68 Dietary Fiber (g) 5 Total Sugars (g) 3 Protein (g) 19 Sodium (mg) 300Reviews SectionThis recipe is WOW so good! Arguably the best pasta I have ever made at home. I made a few substitutions to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand; thin spaghetti noodles instead of a short pasta and a high quality bacon instead of guanciale. I started the bacon in a lukewarm pan to render more of the fat out so that it would crisp up like guanciale or pancetta. I also grated a clove of garlic in at the same time that I added the peppercorn. After tasting, I thought it could use a hit of acid to help balance the fatty rich sauce, so I served it with a lemon wedge on the side. In my opinion, that squeeze of lemon really elevated this dish. It was delicious before, but that sent it off the charts. Overall, I will definitely be making this recipe again. It’s so easy, but feels fancy. Perfect for dinner parties or a weeknight dinner when you feel like indulging!Ingredients easy to source, super easy to make. Great addition to weeknight dinners!AnonymousNew York, NY01/08/18

Watch the video: Cacio e Pepe Brussels Sprouts