Bacon and brussel sprouts work so well together, I decided to try them in a carbonara! Carbonara is traditionally made with guanciale, but a lot of people do it with pancetta. The pancetta is then often Americanized into bacon. Adding brussel sprouts felt like an easy next step to me! The flavors of rich egg yolks, spicy crispy bacon, and that charred brussel sprout goodness go together so well on this pasta!
The inspiration for this dish
When I made that s’mores cake last week, I needed like 15 more egg whites than yolks. Honestly there was like 10 whole eggs, and 15 whites which is kind of crazy. Anyways, I was hungry for lunch while I was making the cake and I had all these egg yolks laying around, so I thought it would be fun to make a super rich and indulgent carbonara with just the yolks. I had some really tasty bacon in the fridge, and also had bought a nice stalk of brussel sprouts on a whim because it is that time of year again finally, so the dish pretty much came together on it’s own.
Splitting the eggs
To separate eggs I just crack them into my hand over a bowl. The white slips through my fingers and the yolk stays.
The aftermath. For some reason I love the way broken egg shells look on my counter.
Cook the bacon and brussel sprouts
In a hot pan, cook the bacon first. Then add the brussel sprouts to the bacon fat and cook them really hot to char. Finally, add the pasta to the pan and toss it to coat it in the bacon fat.
Finishing the bacon and brussel sprout carbonara
Stir in the egg yolks to form that tasty carbonara sauce. You have to do this with room temperature eggs and a super hot bowl of pasta! The eggs will cook just enough to form a luxurious sauce that clings to the pasta and brussel sprouts.
No carbonara is complete without the cheese! I used parm but pecorino is more traditional. This also helps the sauce form.
Serving the bacon brussel sprout carbonara
Once the sauce is formed, pour the pasta into everyone’s bowls!
I wish I had some leftover because I would devour this right now. The brussel sprouts are a perfect match for the eggy bacony pasta.
A nice hit of black pepper really brings it all together.
Twists on this dish
Lots of people are carbonara purists and do not want anything about it to ever change. I am obviously not that guy. If you want to add a touch of cream to this, I won’t be mad. Some people might though. If you are wondering what other veggies might be good, some cubes of roasted butternut squash that have caramelized beautifully would be great in here.
Looking for a more traditional carbonara? Check this one out.
Bacon Brussel Sprout Carbonara
- 7 egg yolks
- 1 pound pasta
- 5 strips bacon
- 25 brussel sprouts shredded
- 1/2 cup parmesan grated
- salt and pepper
- Get some pasta water boiling with lots of salt.
- Cook the bacon in a pan to crisp up. Meanwhile, drop the pasta and cook to al dente. Add the brussel sprouts in with the bacon and cook to lightly char on high heat.
- Add the pasta directly from the pot into the bacon fat and brussel sprout mixture and stir to combine. Add about a half cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
- Pour the pasta into a large bowl and immediately stir in the egg yolks. Toss well to combine and allow the yolks to form a rich sauce. Add the parm and mix. Add more pasta cooking liquid if needed. Serve with lots of black pepper.