After a particularly stressful week at work, plus a long battle with a cold, I was very ready for Friday to arrive. All I wanted to do was spend a restful, relaxing night at home. And I did just that. As soon as I walked into my apartment, I changed into pj’s, turned on some music, and just lay in my bed, decompressing from the strenuous week.
Two hours of lounging later, I mustered up the energy to whip up some dinner. One good thing that came of this busy week was that my fridge was overflowing with food. I had gone grocery shopping the previous weekend, as usual, but between my cold and getting home late, I hadn’t found a chance to cook. Envisioning myself in an episode of “Top Chef,” I set out to use the ingredients on hand for a delicious Friday night dinner.
Going through the fridge, I found some brussels sprouts, a package of bacon, a lemon, parmesan cheese, and whole wheat pasta. I remembered eating the best brussels sprouts a few months back at Father’s Office in LA, which were pan fried with bacon and pine nuts. I thought I could try to recreate that dish (sans pine nuts) with the addition of lemon juice (for acidity and freshness) and whole wheat pasta.
The results were fantastic. Think smoky bacon intermingled with slightly crisp, nutty brussels sprouts and hearty whole wheat pasta, with the occasional burst of lemon juice and parmesan. It was such a simple dish to make, yet it presented such sophisticated flavors and textures. And plus, the ingredients cost under $10 ($5.49 for bacon, $1 pasta, $3 brussels sprouts, $0.79 lemon) and many are pantry staples that most already have on hand.
If you’re a fan of bacon, brussels, or both (like me), then this is the dish for you. Try it on your next Friday night in!
Whole Wheat Pasta with Bacon and Brussels Sprouts
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, chopped in half with ends cut off
4-5 slices of bacon, chopped (can do more depending on your preference)
1/2 of a 14.5 oz box of whole wheat pasta
Parmesan cheese (optional)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, according to the directions on the box.
2. Boil another pot of salted water. Cook the brussels sprouts in the boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.
3. Heat a saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the bacon and let it crisp, 7-10 minutes (depending on how crisp you like it). Take the bacon out with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. Reserve some of the bacon grease i the pan.
4. Fry the brussel sprouts in the leftover bacon grease over medium heat, until the outside becomes brown and crisp. Add the bacon back in for about 1 minute.
5. Turn off the heat. Toss the past with the bacon and brussels sprouts. Squeeze lemon juice onto pasta and grate parmesan cheese. Add salt, pepper, and olive oil to taste if desired.