Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brussel Sprouts and Pancetta

A long, long, time ago . . . I can still remember how that music used to make me smile . . .

Wait, wrong post.

A long, long, time ago, I came across this recipe for Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta and Almonds at Sweet Paul. I don't remember how I came across it, as I'd never visited that blog before, and I don't like brussel sprouts. At least, I thought I didn't like brussel sprouts. I certainly didn't like them flavorless and boiled into submission, the way I remember them as a child. (My mother is an amazing cook, but I'm beginning to realize there were a handful of green vegetables that she boiled when she should have roasted, baked, or sauteed them.)

That picture up at top, though, just looked incredible. It looked like something I would actually want to eat. So I saved the link and forgot about it for a good long time.

Lately, amongst my circle of acquaintances, there's been an e-mail meme (did I just use that word right? I mean chain letter, more or less) going around asking people to send 1 recipe to the person at number 1 on the list, add your name to the bottom, send to your friends, etc. So I clicked the "recipes" label in my gmail and discovered that I've only ever saved 2 recipes in gmail. I hadn't tried either of them, but the brussel sprouts caught my attention again (unfortunately, I have a distant memory of the person whose name is at number 1 on the list being a vegetarian, so this pancetta-full recipe is probably not what I will send her).

I stopped by the grocery store and picked up the ingredients:
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Pancetta
  • Sliced Almonds

Also necessary are
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
The original recipe gave amounts in "grams," and I don't speak grams. I just used as much as I wanted to. I might have skimped on the pancetta. I'd add a little more next time.

When I got home (and by home, of course, I still do not mean my home), I preheated the oven to 380*. I cleaned the brussel sprouts and sliced them in half (but forgot to remove the tough ends, which you shouldn't forget to do). I hadn't been able to find pancetta in any form except sliced, so I just cut some slices up into smaller pieces, but I imagine that if you were able to find a chunk of pancetta - or whatever other form it is pancetta can come int - it would be an improvement. After that, just add the brussel sprouts and pancetta to a baking dish with olive oil, salt, pepper, and some almonds. Mix together well. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to evenly spread the pancetta around. It's done, according to the original recipe, when the brussel sprouts are al dente and the pancetta is golden. My pancetta never got golden, and I don't know whether that is because it was in a different form or because I undercooked it. If I undercooked it, this recipe is very good even when undercooked!

Many thanks to Sweet Paul!

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