Sprouts with Pancetta doesn’t just have to be for Christmas! This is a great side dish for a Sunday roast, it’s also a superb side for a Christmas dinner. You can always splash a little creme de cassis in the pan and stir around just prior to serving to give it that proper autumnal gamey accompniment.
Why Put Sprouts With Pancetta Though?
When cooked in a way that this recipe shows, you’ll find that this is actually a perfect harmony of flavours that can cohesively work together.
Brussels sprouts and pancetta are a classic and delicious combination for several reasons, making them good together in various dishes:
7 Reasons Why Sprouts With Pancetta Works
- Contrasting Textures: The crispiness of pancetta complements the tenderness of Brussels sprouts, creating a satisfying textural contrast.
- Balanced Flavors: Brussels sprouts have a slightly nutty, earthy flavor, while pancetta is salty, smoky, and savory. Together, they create a balanced flavor profile with a perfect mix of saltiness and umami.
- Saltiness and Savory Depth: The saltiness of the pancetta enhances the natural flavors of the Brussels sprouts, making them taste even better. The fat from the pancetta adds a rich and savory depth to the dish.
- Crispy Bacon-like Effect: Pancetta, when crisped up, can have a bacon-like quality, which many people find irresistible. This is similar to the way bacon pairs wonderfully with Brussels sprouts.
- A Touch of Luxury: The addition of pancetta can elevate Brussels sprouts from a simple vegetable side dish to something that feels a bit more luxurious and special.
- Versatility: The combination of sprouts with pancetta is highly versatile and can be used in various preparations, from sautéed side dishes to roasted dishes, pasta, and even as a pizza topping.
- Complementary Ingredients: Both Brussels sprouts and pancetta work well with similar complementary ingredients, such as garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, which can further enhance the flavour of the dish.
Give the recipe a go and try the tastes before adding the next ingredients, you will see just how a simple dish like sprouts with pancetta can teach you all about layering the flavour. Whilst sprouts might not be everyones favourite vegetable, cooked properly they are very tasty.
Brussels Sprouts With PancettaCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Medium
Brussels sprouts with pancetta is a delightful side dish that combines the savory and smoky flavor of the pancetta with the slightly nutty taste of the Brussels sprouts. It’s an excellent accompaniment for Christmas meals or everyday dinners.
450g Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Cloves of Garlic
Black Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional, for garnish)
- Trim the stem ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut them in half. Remove any loose or discolored leaves.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the diced pancetta. Cook until it becomes crispy and releases its fat, stirring occasionally, which should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the crispy pancetta to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Leave the pancetta fat in the skillet.
- In the same skillet with the pancetta fat, add the olive oil. Add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down, and cook them undisturbed for about 5 minutes to allow them to brown. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking.
- Add the minced garlic to the skillet with the Brussels sprouts and continue to sauté for another 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
- Return the crispy pancetta to the skillet with the Brussels sprouts and toss everything together. This will infuse the Brussels sprouts with the savory pancetta flavor.
- Season the Brussels sprouts and pancetta mixture with salt and black pepper to taste. Be careful with the salt, as the pancetta is already salty.
- Cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts are tender but still vibrant and have a slight crispiness.
- If desired, garnish the Brussels sprouts and pancetta with grated Parmesan cheese just before serving.
- Serve the Brussels sprouts and pancetta while they are still hot. This side dish pairs well with a variety of main courses.
The marriage of Brussels sprouts and pancetta is a classic example of how contrasting flavors and textures can come together to create a harmonious and delectable dish. Whether you’re enjoying them as a side dish, in pasta, or on a pizza, this combination is a crowd-pleaser for good reason.