Brussels sprouts and pancetta

Brussels sprouts is a nice winter vegetable, to often forgotten in favor of other things. Part of it, I believe, is because it is often cooked improperly, leaving it half raw and very cabbage-y. If cooked properly and seasoned with cheese or bacon, it becomes a delectable side, and apparently very healthy too!

So what is the secret to Brussels sprouts? Don’t let it al dente! Boil it first and then sautee until very tender, you will discover a new world. By the way same goes for broccoli and cauliflower!

Brussels sprouts and pancetta

Brussels sprouts and pancetta

Ingredients

  • 1lb Brussels sprouts
  • 2 oz. diced pancetta (substitute with bacon)
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

  1. Clean the Brussels sprouts and cook them in boiling water for about 10 minutes. When they are soft, drain them and cut them in half or quarts depending on the size. Set aside.
  2. In a pan roast the diced pancetta (or bacon) until it renders all the fat. Add the Brussels sprouts and let them roast in the fat for a couple of minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of water and cover the pan with a lid. Let cook for 15 minutes or until tender, adding more water if necessary.
  4. If you want add some chopped nuts for a bit of crunch or add some grated parmesan and broil them for a couple of minutes in the oven.

Bow ties with pancetta and pea shoots

So Sunday pasta has been missing for a while. I bring it back today with bow ties. Bow ties (farfalle) are a little funky shape that kids love. They are also pretty flexible and can be eaten with a lot of sauces, but they go best with “piece-y” sauces so they are often used to make pasta salads.

I love them with peas and ham. That is one comfort dish I used to love as a kid. Here I propose a spin on this pasta. I swapped peas with pea shoots, pancetta for ham and yogurt for heavy whipping cream. The result is an adult version of my childhood favorite.

Bow ties with pancetta and pea shoots

Bow ties with pancetta and pea shoots

Ingredients

bow ties

    • 2 eggs
    • 7 oz whole wheat flour
    • pinch salt

sauce

  • pea shoots
  • 2 oz. pancetta
  • 2 tbsp greek yogurt

Directions

bow ties

    1. Place the flour on a table and create a large well in the middle of the whole wheat flour. Crack the egg in the well, add salt and quickly mix in the flour. The dough will rapidly come together in a smooth and relatively tough mass. Knead the dough until all the flour has been incorporated, adding a bit of salt if needed and the dough looks smooth. Place the dough under a bowl for 10 minutes or so to rest so that the gluten can relax.
    2. While the dough is resting set up your work station. Place a large wooden board on the table, get a table knife and get a couple of cookies cooling rack that you will use for drying the pasta. If you don’t have the cooling racks, you can use a couple of kitchen towels.
    3. Roll out the dough thinly. You can use a rolling pin or a pasta machine and you should end up with an almost transparent sheet of pasta.

    1. With a knife cut the dough in rectangles (about 1×2 in). Pinch each rectangle in the middle to get a bow tie.
    2. Place on the racks to dry.
    3. Cook the pasta in a lot of salted boiling water. It will cook very quickly (~90 seconds) so wait to cook until the sauce is almost ready.

Sauce

  1. Dice the pancetta and place in a pan. Turn on the heat and let the pancetta render its fat. When the fat is well rendered drain some of the fat.
  2. Add the pea shoots and the yogurt, mix well and quickly turn off the fire.
  3. Cook the pasta, drain it and dress it with the sauce.
  4. Serve hot and enjoy your homemade bow ties.

Pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin with leeks

Today  I will share a delicious pork tenderloin recipe. It is easy to make that you can whip it up for a quick weeknight dinner, but impressive enough to serve your guests.

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Pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin with leeks

Ingredients

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 6-8 thinly sliced pancetta slices
  • 2 leeks
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • White wine

Directions

  1. In a pan, saute the thinly sliced leeks in a drizzle of warm olive oil. Salt and let cook until they are well caramelized adding a bit of white wine if needed (it will take 15-20 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, salt and pepper the pork loin and wrap it in the pancetta.
  3. When the leeks are well cooked, make room for the tenderloin in the pan by pushing the leeks to the side and sear the tenderloin.
  4. Add half a glass of the white wine and let it evaporate. Then cover and keep cooking for 15-20 minutes turning the tenderloin every 5 minutes or so for even cooking. Add more wine (or a bit of broth) as needed to avoid scorching.
  5. Uncover for the last few minutes of cooking to make let the liquids evaporate.
  6. Serve hot.