The wonderful thing about holidays is that our family comes together and we cook like this Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Nuts + Cacio-e-Pepe. Our sons are now adults with lives of their own but come home for a few days visit during Christmas. I don’t need to urge them to cook. They make their way to the kitchen even before they arrive by texting me recipe ideas of what they’d like to make.
My sons did an inventory of what I had in our refrigerator and in the pantry. They divided between the two of them who would cook what dish. I was elated when my boys asked “What vegetables do we have?”
I am proud my boys grew up to love vegetables. A meal is not a meal for them without greens. The boys found the Brussels sprouts, a box of assorted nuts we got as gifts, pasta fettuccini, excellent Dubliner aged cheddar cheeses (from my friends at Kerrygold USA who sent a big box of cheeses for the holidays) and got to work.
Brussels sprouts, sliced in halves, were pan fried in the bacon fat and minced garlic. A tad of butter was dabbed in the sizzling skillet as the aroma of roasted vegetables filled the air. At the last few minutes, assorted nuts, gifts from our family in the Midwest, were thrown in the pan. The combination of Brussels sprouts and crisp nuts created a clunky sound which promised a scrumptious dish. Then my eldest son added the crisp bacon bits as a crowning glory to the whole assembly just before serving.
My younger son prepared the pasta with cheese to go with the Brussels sprouts. He did it so fast that I barely had time to photograph the pasta. Quickly, he put together the fettuccini noodles, moistened it with the pasta water it was cooked in, and sprinkled a generous amount of aged cheddar (a gift from Kerrygold USA).
My sons gave tip, “Use pasta water to help turn the cheese into an evenly melted sauce. Add a tablespoon of butter to make up for the aged-cheese having less fat.” Then he cracked lots of freshly ground pepper all over and dinner was ready.
To borrow a line from a recent movie about a chef, “Food means memories”. And food, family and the holidays will always be intertwined with my happy memories. It’s these remembrances that I bring out every now and then to remind me of the blessings our family has received.
Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Nuts + Cacio E Pepe
- Large skillet: 12 inches or 14 inches in diameter
- 1 pound (16 oz) fettucini pasta
- 4 quarts water or enough to cook pasta, follow package directions
- 2 Tablespoons softened unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 package (7 oz.) Dubliner aged cheddar cheese grated, about 1 1/4 cup (Kerrygold USA)
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 package (16 oz.) bacon strips save 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat when cooking strips
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts core ends sliced, then each cut in half
- 1 Tablespoon butter for brussels sprouts
- 1 cup assorted unsalted nuts almonds, cashews, or pistachio
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- To cook pasta fettuccini: Boil in heavy stockpot with water. Follow directions on package. When pasta is cooked, remove from water and set aside in a colander. Save 1/3 cup of the pasta water.
- To prepare pasta side dish: In a bowl, mix the pasta, pasta water, butter and grated cheddar cheese. Mix quickly so cheese blends in while pasta is piping-hot. Add the freshly ground black pepper all over. Set aside and keep warm.
- To prepare bacon: Pre-cook the bacon strips in a large skillet. Lay out the strips evenly. Over medium high heat, cook till bacon is crisp. This will take about 10 minutes. When bacon is done, drain on paper towels a few minutes to remove excess oil. Then chop bacon into crumbled bits and set aside.
- To cook the Brussels sprouts: Using the same skillet where bacon was cooked set the heat to medium. Discard most of the bacon oil in the skillet, leaving one tablespoon for cooking. Add extra virgin olive oil. When oil is hot enough, in 1 to 2 minutes, add the minced garlic. After 1 minute, add the Brussels sprouts. Pan fry for 12 to 15 minutes over medium heat till Brussels sprouts have dark, cooked edges and have a roasted aroma.
- Add the butter and assorted nuts to the Brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes for flavors to blend well. Season with lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Toss everything around to blend.
- Pour the cooked bacon bits all over the top of the Brussels sprouts just before serving. Serve with the pasta fettuccini filled with cheese and black pepper.
- Disclosure: Kerrygold USA sent me a generous gift box of assorted cheeses for the holidays. I used the Dubliner Aged Cheese for this recipe. I was not paid to mention the brand but I will gladly recommend these cheeses for recipes that require premium ingredients.
- Cook's comments: If this brand of cheese is not available for you, substitute with Pecorino or Parmesan.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]