Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

3 Jul

I can imagine sitting at a bar being very happy with a plate of B’s roasted potatoes in front of me.

My choice of dish was influenced by a dinner my step-mother cooked the other night. Betsy cooked this Brussels sprouts recipe from the book Italian Local by Tobie Puttock. They are more of a side dish than a tapas dish, but I have to say, I would be thrilled to eat them with a drink at a bar. We actually doubled the recipe and ate them as an entrée (appetizer in American speak), for four people. Light and flavoursome.

One of the best things about this blog for me is being able to share food as I discover it, try recipes recommended by friends, try things I would never normally attempt, and also have a recipe file for myself for later use. This is one of those recipes. I plan to make this every Brussels season.

I started with these ingredients…

Baby Brussels sprouts, onion, garlic, pancetta, thyme, butter and salt and pepper. I also used a little olive oil.

I began by chopping off the bases of my gorgeous little farmer’s market Brussels. They were so small and fresh they hardly needed any outer leaves discarded, but in general you will need to chop off the end of the stem and remove the outer leaves. I then put them in to a bowl of cold water to soak.

I cut up the pancetta in to a dice, and put it in to a heavy bottomed fry pan over medium heat. I added a little olive oil to the pan, as I wanted some flavoured oil to be left in the pan after cooking the pancetta, and there did not seem to be much coming from the meat itself.

While the pancetta was cooking I chopped up the onion to a dice, and the garlic in to slices.

When the pancetta was crispy, I scooped it out of the pan on to paper towel, leaving about a tablespoon of fat in the pan.

I then cooked the onion in the pan with the remaining fat. I sautéed until golden, they picked up colour as they deglazed the pan. I added in the garlic at the same time as the onion, but in future I would add it later on, I think it was overcooked. When the onion and garlic mix was cooked, I put it in a bowl. I kept the pan on the stove for a future step, and put in the butter to let it melt slowly off the heat in the pan.

I brought a pot of water to the boil, and scooped the Brussels out of the cold water and into the boiling water. I cooked them for four or so minutes. I wanted them to still be a little firm.

From the boiling water they went straight in to the fry pan with melted butter, where they cooked for a few minutes over medium heat, then I added the onion mix and thyme, and cooked for another minute over low heat. Then half the pancetta went in, and I mixed it through. I seasoned with pepper and salt to taste.

When I served them up I used the remaining crispy pancetta as a garnish. I have to admit, I was concerned I would eat it before I would get to take the pictures it was that good! It is best served straight away.

B, I have taken a side step, although I still believe this would fit well in to our Spanish night out, this is an Italian dish… where to from here?


Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
based on a recipe by Tobie Puttock from Italian Local


200g (7oz) small Brussels sprouts, outer leaves discarded
60g (2oz) thinly sliced pancetta, diced (you could substitute prosciutto or cured spanish ham)
1 brown onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
20g butter (2/3 oz)
2 stalks thyme
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Place Brussels sprouts in cold water to soak.
In a fry pan over medium heat, cook the pancetta until crispy, add a teaspoon or so of olive oil if there is little fat coming out of the meat. When cooked scoop from the pan, leaving the flavoured oil and fat, and set aside on paper towel.
In the fat in the pan, cook the onions, for around 6 minutes, and then add in the garlic and continue to cook for another few minutes, until the onion is golden. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the butter to the pan off the heat, to melt slowly in the residual heat.
Bring a pot of water to boil, and using a slotted spoon scoop the soaking Brussels and put them in the boiling water. Cook for 4 minutes or until tender, but still crisp. Transfer the Brussels to the pan with butter using a slotted spoon again, and sauté over medium heat for 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and add in the onion mixture, and the thyme, then sauté for one more minute before mixing through half of the pancetta.
Serve immediately using the remaining pancetta as garnish.

2 Responses to “Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta”

  1. Karen 06/07/2012 at 7:32 pm #

    Size matters. Do I want to cut some of the bigger sprouts in half so that they’re all roughly the same size, or do I leave them whole? If I cut them, will they still cook in the same time as the whole ones, or would they cook faster?

    • Alice 06/07/2012 at 8:33 pm #

      I left mine all whole, even though they did vary in size. My only concern with boiling Brussels that are cut is that they may become waterlogged. If you drain them well it should be fine.

      If anyone else knows the answer to that feel free to chime in!

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