Brussels Sprouts Pasta Carbonara 

Brussels Sprouts Pasta Carbonara 

Do you whistle while you work? Hum to the tune of your favorite foods? Like to get a little jiggy in the kitchen? Food, drinks, and music are the perfect mood-enhancing combination. Twice a month, this blog will explore the intersection between feelings, memories, sounds, and flavors by providing fun recipes accompanied by drink and music pairings. Culinary explorer and resident singer-in-the-kitchen Nicole Capó will also highlight awesome women doing interesting things in music, food, and beverage and discuss how these things bring out the best in each other.


It’s September and the crisp weather we’ve been getting these days is a reminder that summer can’t last forever. It may be the end for fresh berries and tomatoes, but the colder seasons make it acceptable to be gluttonous as all hell and wear sweatpants every day. Food once more becomes creamy, decadent, warm, and comforting. Sure, summer food feeds your body and makes you feel healthy, but winter food feeds your soul.

Brussels sprouts, the notorious veggies that haunt the nightmares of small children, get an update in this comfort food recipe. Their peak season begins in September and I can’t wait to find new ways to use these earthy, nutty, and cancer-fighting nuggets. Slightly charring them adds a kick to the classic pasta carbonara recipe, giving it a modern makeover even the staunchest of naysayers will have a hard time passing up.

Autumn has its subtle charms, Brussels sprouts being just one of them. It’s a season of bright colors and warm, but not too warm, weather. It’s a time of reflection, change, sharing and preparation for winter months. The Peasall Sisters’ “Where No One Stands Alone,” Rilo Kiley’s “Silver Lining,” and Shiny Toy Guns’ “Season of Love” reflect that quiet hopefulness and feeling of affection from those around you that the season represents. So, make a big batch of pasta, blast the music, get some wine, and share the love.


Brussels Sprouts Pasta Carbonara

Serves 4


12 oz. Brussels sprouts, leaves trimmed and separated

12 oz. pasta (spaghetti is traditional, but short pasta will be easier for the mixing process)

2 oz. pancetta, diced

1 tsp. ground black pepper

¼ cup unsalted butter, diced

½ cup grated Pecorino Romano

3 lg. egg yolks

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil for sautéing



Heat about one Tbsp. oil in a large pan over high heat. Add half of the Brussels sprouts leaves, cooking until tender and lightly charred. Remove from pan and cook the other half of the sprouts the same way. Wipe pan and set aside charred leaves.

Charred Brussels sprouts

Charred Brussels sprouts

Cook pasta according to box directions, stopping the boiling when the pasta is slightly undercooked or al dente. Save one cup of pasta water and drain pasta. Set aside.

In a small bowl, beat together egg yolks and Pecorino. Set aside.

Heat another Tbsp. of oil in the Brussels sprouts skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until crisp. Add pepper and continuously stir for about one minute. Add a splash of pasta water. Slowly add butter, stirring until the sauce becomes thick. Continue adding splashes of pasta water to thin sauce to preference. Season with salt and pepper.



Toss in pasta, stirring to combine. Slowly mix in egg mixture. Take the pan off the heat and add in Brussels sprouts leaves.

Serve garnished with Pecorino.

Recommended drink: Pasta Carbonara needs an acidic wine to cut through the richness of the cheese and pancetta. Brussels sprouts are a tough wine to match, but a crisp Chenin Blanc can both cut through the richness of the pasta and balance the earthy flavors of the sprouts.